Well, seems that it is not only the smaller Linux Distros that come ‘n go, but also some of the well financially supported ‘n more popular ones can suddenly disappear: CentOS 8 Early EOL in 2021 and CentOS Stream, Goodbye CentOS, hello Rocky Linux, IBM’s Red Hat Just Killed CentOS as we Know it: With CentOS Stream, Stability Goes out of the Door, Where do I go now that CentOS Linux is gone? Check our list, and a brief from Red Hat – CentOS Stream: Building an innovative future for enterprise Linux.

Most Linux Distros ‘hang by a thread’ financially…even super-popular Desktop Distros like Linux Mint have to get by on small monthly donations – e.g. July 2020 $14,868 and December 2020’s “all-time high” of $25,352. A majority of them get almost nothing in donations…depending instead on developers to donate their free time. However, CentOS has been supported by Red Hat, and apparently a part of Red Hat’s future plans until the politics of COVID-19 showed up. BTW, in a year, there have been 1,613,932 Worldwide deaths from COVID-19 (includes skydiving accident deaths, etc attributed to C-19), and there were “1.35 million” (i.e. 1,350,000) road traffic Worldwide deaths reported by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018.

Look at these charts: 1) CentOS vs Linux. 2) CentOS vs Ubuntu. CentOS was a popular Linux Distro, at least for servers, then suddenly it is ending?! It was a ‘Freebie’ competitor of RHEL, but was allowed to exist as a competitor whilst also being supported by its competitor, Red Hat.

CentOS, on the other hand, is/was a downstream community project. Whatever changes RHEL introduced also get to be included in CentOS. A new version of RHEL released? A new version of CentOS would follow a couple of months later.

Basically, CentOS is a clone of RHEL with most of RHEL’s benefits but without RHEL’s cost. So far, it was regarded as the paying customers get the features first in RHEL and then the community users get them through CentOS.

How many other Linux Distros are headed to extinction because of COVID-19’s politics? I dunno, but ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ The world didn’t shut down in 2018 because of “1.35 million” road traffic Worldwide deaths…the world didn’t force humans to stop driving because of those 1,350,000 Worldwide deaths…nor were public schools closed because of those 1,350,000 Worldwide deaths.

Personally, I moved from CentOS 8 to CentOS Stream right after Red Hat announced – Transforming the development experience within CentOS in September 24, 2019…note this quote:

What does this mean for CentOS?

CentOS Stream is parallel to existing CentOS builds; this means that nothing changes for current users of CentOS Linux and services, even those that begin to explore the newly-released CentOS 8. We encourage interested users that want to be more tightly involved in driving the future of enterprise Linux, however, to transition to CentOS Stream as the new “pace-setting” distribution.

Supporters of the politics involved with COVID-19 will blame “Big Business” and/or “Big Corporations” for the sudden demise of CentOS Linux, but it seems to humble me that a lot more is going on, e.g. Newton’s Third Law. Besides, CentOS was popular, #3 according to Datanyze, and here’s a list of some of the Companies that used CentOS:

Who are these companies? They’re names you know. Major companies that don’t just use CentOS but depend on it include Disney, GoDaddy, RackSpace, Toyota, and Verizon. Other important technology companies build products around CentOS. These include GE, Riverbed, F5, Juniper, and Fortinet.

Now, about the same time all this CentOS news was breaking, I was downloading the 8.91GB CentOS-Stream-8-x86_64-20201203-dvd1 iso, because I was having problems with an early iso version ‘n wanted to try a fresh one. The fresh one fixed my problems…sorta, i.e. Linux continues to have issues with AMD ‘n Nvidia. A recent update, involving a kernel update, broke CentOS Stream, but may have been because it didn’t re-compile the Nvidia driver – see article NVIDIA drivers on Fedora 32 mention of “re-compiling.” Long long story, but that article helped fix the Fedora problem ‘n I have not tried it with CentOS Stream yet…also of note, the old iso version always mentioned something about the Ryzen™ 9 3900X in ‘Apevia’ “not tested by Red Hat” in the POST. I wanted a fresh iso, which seems a lot better, but I haven’t tried installing the actual Nvidia driver yet since it now shows this:

That “NV168” is the nouveau free and open-source graphics device driver for Nvidia video cards and the CodeName source shows it as the correct GeForce GTX 1660 video card. I still have the test SSD available, and at some point may try installing the proprietary driver using that RPM Fusion method mentioned in that Fedora article. Like I said a long long story. This NV168 is new, i.e. the old iso had something else listed, which is why I installed the proprietary Nvidia driver…maybe it broke this time because it needed to be re-compiled and/or re-installed, which I am not inclined to do.

As a Desktop user, I like CentOS Streamer more than CentOS 8, and even it is only my #3 Distro on the Karmi’s Top 10 Linux Distros page. They say Streamer isn’t as stable, but it only uses the 4.18.0-257.el8.x86_64 kernel:

This is the package which provides the Linux kernel for CentOS. It is based on upstream Linux at version 4.18.0 and maintains kABI compatibility of a set of approved symbols, however it is heavily modified with backports and fixes pulled from newer upstream Linux kernel releases. This means this is not a 4.18.0 kernel anymore: it includes several components which come from newer upstream linux versions, while maintaining a well tested and stable core. Some of the components/backports that may be pulled in are: changes like updates to the core kernel (eg.: scheduler, cgroups, memory management, security fixes and features), updates to block layer, supported filesystems, major driver updates for supported hardware in CentOS, enhancements for enterprise customers, etc.

Not the ‘Bleeding Edge’ kernel, and am not sure what CentOS 8 Linux uses, but believe it is at least based on 4.18. The politics of COVID-19 is obviously doing more harm than COVID-19 itself, and that harm is only beginning to reveal the results. 1,613,932 Worldwide deaths from COVID-19 aren’t even a ‘blip’ on the 55,400,000 Worldwide deaths in 2019.

LINUX IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES – you never know what you’re gonna get!