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CentOS is gone—but RHEL is now free for up to 16 production servers

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Red Hat

Last month, Red Hat caused a lot of consternation in the enthusiast and small business Linux world when it announced the discontinuation of CentOS Linux.
Long-standing tradition—and ambiguity in Red Hat's posted terms—led users to believe that CentOS 8 would be available until 2029, just like the RHEL 8 it was based on. Red Hat's early termination of CentOS 8 in 2021 cut eight of those 10 years away, leaving thousands of users stranded.

As of February 1, 2021, Red Hat will make RHEL available at no cost for small-production workloads—with "small" defined as 16 systems or fewer. This access to no-cost production RHEL is by way of the newly expanded Red Hat Developer Subscription program, and it comes with no strings—in Red Hat's words, "this isn't a sales program, and no sales representative will follow up."

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Red Hat introduces free RHEL for small production workloads

  • Red Hat introduces free RHEL for small production workloads and development teams

    When Red Hat announced it was switching up CentOS Linux from a stable Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone to a rolling Linux distribution, which would become the next minor RHEL update, many CentOS users were upset. Now, to appease some of those users, Red Hat is introducing no-cost RHEL for small production workloads and no-cost RHEL for customer development teams.

  • Red Hat Announces No-Cost RHEL For Small Production Environments

    Following the announcement at the end of last year that CentOS 8 will be ending and instead focusing on CentOS Stream as the future upstream to RHEL, there have been many concerned by the absence of CentOS 8 past this year. In trying to fill that void, Red Hat announced today they will be making Red Hat Enterprise Linux free for small production deployments.

    Red Hat has announced an expanded developer program where now the individual RHEL Developer subscription is supported for production environments up to 16 systems. Previously the program allowed free RHEL access only for "development" purposes but can now be used in production up to that 16 system limit.

  • Red Hat introduces new no-cost RHEL option

    As you know, Red Hat recently announced that CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of RHEL 8, will end in 2021. CentOS Stream continues after that date, serving as the upstream (development) branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The news met with a strong reaction from the open-source community and CentOS users. Today, Red Hat released a new option where RHEL developer subscriptions can now be used in production environments. The developers and team can have up to 16 systems. In other words, it is a no-cost RHEL that small groups and developers can use to build packages and in production environments.
    [continue reading…]

Red Hat expands no-cost RHEL options

Red Hat Seeks to Soothe CentOS Linux Users

  • Red Hat Seeks to Soothe CentOS Linux Users

    Red Hat rolled out updates to its CentOS Stream platform targeted at alleviating support issues tied to the new Linux platform that is set to supersede its long-standing CentOS Linux project.

    The CentOS Stream platform will include “no- and low-cost” programs that will allow individual Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscriptions to run on up to 16 systems in a production environment. This includes the ability to run these RHEL systems on major public cloud environments like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This option will be available by Feb. 1, 2021.

    Red Hat is now also making it possible to add development teams to its Red Hat Developer program by using a team member’s existing RHEL subscription. This will allow RHEL to be deployed using Red Hat’s Cloud Access program on top of those major cloud providers.

Red Hat Launches New RHEL Programs

  • Red Hat Launches New RHEL Programs

    Red Hat has announced two new programs for RHEL: no-cost RHEL for small production workloads and no-cost RHEL for customer development teams.

    The terms of the no-cost RHEL program formerly limited its use to single-machine developers. Red Hat has now expanded the terms of the program so that the Individual Developer subscription for RHEL can be used in production for up to 16 systems.

Red Hat's explanation

  • New Year, new Red Hat Enterprise Linux programs: Easier ways to access RHEL

    On December 8, 2020, Red Hat announced a major change to the enterprise Linux ecosystem: Red Hat will begin shifting our work from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream on December 31, 2021. We and the CentOS Project governing board believe that CentOS Stream represents the best way to further drive Linux innovation. It will give everyone in the broader ecosystem community, including open source developers, hardware and software creators, individual contributors, and systems administrators, a closer connection to the development of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform.

    When we announced our intent to transition to CentOS Stream, we did so with a plan to create new programs to address use cases traditionally served by CentOS Linux. Since then, we have gathered feedback from the broad, diverse, and vocal CentOS Linux user base and the CentOS Project community. Some had specific technical questions about deployment needs and components, while others wondered what their options were for already- or soon-to-be deployed systems. We’ve been listening. We know that CentOS Linux was fulfilling a wide variety of important roles.

    We made this change because we felt that the Linux development models of the past 10+ years needed to keep pace with the evolving IT world. We recognize the disruption that this has caused for some of you. Making hard choices for the future isn’t new to Red Hat. The introduction of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the deprecation of Red Hat Linux two decades ago caused similar reactions. Just as in the past, we’re committed to making the RHEL ecosystem work for as broad a community as we can, whether it’s individuals or organizations seeking to run a stable Linux backend; community projects maintaining large CI/Build systems; open source developers looking toward "what’s next;" educational institutions, hardware, and software vendors looking to bundle solutions; or enterprises needing a rock-solid production platform.

Install RHEL 8.3 for free production use in a VM

  • Install RHEL 8.3 for free production use in a VM

    In January 2021, Red Hat announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux can be used at no cost for up to 16 production servers. In this article, I want to provide step-by-step instructions on how to install RHEL 8.3 in a VM.

    First off, download the official and updated QCOW2 image named rhel-8.3-x86_64-kvm.qcow2 (the name will likely change later as RHEL moves to higher versions). Creating an account on the Red Hat Portal is free, there is an integration with 3rd party authorization services like GitHub, Twitter or Facebook, however for successful host registration username and password needs to be created.

    To use RHEL in a cloud environment like Amazon, Azure or OpenStack, simply upload the image and start it. It’s cloud-init ready, make sure to seed the instance with data like usernames, passwords and/or ssh-keys. Note that root account is locked, there is no way to log in without seeding initial information.

The Slashdot discussion

Rocky Linux Making Progress Towards Their First Release

  • Rocky Linux Making Progress Towards Their First Release In Q2 As A Free RHEL Alternative

    If Red Hat's new no-cost offering for up to 16 production systems for RHEL doesn't fit your requirements and are evaluating alternatives to CentOS 8 that will be EOL'ed this year, Rocky Linux remains one of the leading contenders and is on track for its inaugural release in Q2 of this year.

    Rocky Linux and CloudLinux's AlmaLinux appear to be the two main contenders (along with existing players like Oracle Linux) coming out of last month's announcement that CentOS 8 will be EOL'ed at the end of 2021.

In a Move to Retain Small-Scale CentOS Users

  • In a Move to Retain Small-Scale CentOS Users, Red Hat Allows Free RHEL Download [With Ifs and Buts]

    You are probably aware of the way Red Hat decided to discontinue CentOS 8 and replace it with rolling release CentOS.

    This created a sort of rebellion among the CentOS users who rightly saw it as betrayal and a ?dick move? by Red Hat to force them to buy RHEL license.

    [...]

    Red Hat sensed that people were worried about having to pay for Red Hat license or migrate their servers to some other distributions.

    And hence they come up with the plan to allow them to use RHEL for free, as long as they don?t have more than 16 servers. The plan should be available before 1st February 2021.

    Keep in mind that the ?no-cost RHEL? programs comes without Red Hat support (for technical issues). You can use Red Hat, that?s it. If you want support, you?ll have to upgrade (pay money).

    [...]

    It portrays that RHEL is the ideal choice for production workload. For CentOS Stream, it says no such thing despite their developers claiming on social media that CentOS Stream is not a beta product, not rolling release and stable enough to run production servers.

    Somehow that confidence in CentOS Stream evaporated in the official announcement? Or perhaps the real reason is to pitch Red Hat as their recommendation for production servers. You decide.

    The olive branch offered by Red Hat may make some small-scale users happy. It doesn?t wash off the corporate greed painted all over them. What do you think?

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A warning about 5.12-rc1

  • A warning about 5.12-rc1
    Hey peeps - some of you may have already noticed that in my public git
    tree, the "v5.12-rc1" tag has magically been renamed to
    "v5.12-rc1-dontuse". It's still the same object, it still says
    "v5.12-rc1" internally, and it is still is signed by me, but the
    user-visible name of the tag has changed.
    
    
    
    
    The reason is fairly straightforward: this merge window, we had a very
    innocuous code cleanup and simplification that raised no red flags at
    all, but had a subtle and very nasty bug in it: swap files stopped
    working right.  And they stopped working in a particularly bad way:
    the offset of the start of the swap file was lost.
    
    
    
    
    Swapping still happened, but it happened to the wrong part of the
    filesystem, with the obvious catastrophic end results.
    
    
    
    
    Now, the good news is even if you do use swap (and hey, that's nowhere
    near as common as it used to be), most people don't use a swap *file*,
    but a separate swap *partition*. And the bug in question really only
    happens for when you have a regular filesystem, and put a file on it
    as a swap.
    
    
    
    
    And, as far as I know, all the normal distributions set things up with
    swap partitions, not files, because honestly, swapfiles tend to be
    slower and have various other complexity issues.
    
    
    
    
    The bad news is that the reason we support swapfiles in the first
    place is that they do end up having some flexibility advantages, and
    so some people do use them for that reason. If so, do not use rc1.
    Thus the renaming of the tag.
    
    
    
    
    Yes, this is very unfortunate, but it really wasn't a very obvious
    bug, and it didn't even show up in normal testing, exactly because
    swapfiles just aren't normal. So I'm not blaming the developers in
    question, and it also wasn't due to the odd timing of the merge
    window, it was just simply an unusually nasty bug that did get caught
    and is fixed in the current tree.
    
    
    
    
    But I want everybody to be aware of because _if_ it bites you, it
    bites you hard, and you can end up with a filesystem that is
    essentially overwritten by random swap data. This is what we in the
    industry call "double ungood".
    
    
    
    
    Now, there's a couple of additional reasons for me writing this note
    other than just "don't run 5.12-rc1 if you use a swapfile". Because
    it's more than just "ok, we all know the merge window is when all the
    new scary code gets merged, and rc1 can be a bit scary and not work
    for everybody". Yes, rc1 tends to be buggier than later rc's, we are
    all used to that, but honestly, most of the time the bugs are much
    smaller annoyances than this time.
    
    
    
    
    And in fact, most of our rc1 releases have been so solid over the
    years that people may have forgotten that "yeah, this is all the new
    code that can have nasty bugs in it".
    
    
    
    
    One additional reason for this note is that I want to not just warn
    people to not run this if you have a swapfile - even if you are
    personally not impacted (like I am, and probably most people are -
    swap partitions all around) - I want to make sure that nobody starts
    new topic branches using that 5.12-rc1 tag. I know a few developers
    tend to go "Ok, rc1 is out, I got all my development work into this
    merge window, I will now fast-forward to rc1 and use that as a base
    for the next release". Don't do it this time. It may work perfectly
    well for you because you have the common partition setup, but it can
    end up being a horrible base for anybody else that might end up
    bisecting into that area.
    
    
    
    
    And the *final* reason I want to just note this is a purely git
    process one: if you already pulled my git tree, you will have that
    "v5.12-rc1" tag, and the fact that it no longer exists in my public
    tree under that name changes nothing at all for you. Git is
    distributed, and me removing that tag and replacing it with another
    name doesn't magically remove it from other copies unless you have
    special mirroring code.
    
    
    
    
    So if you have a kernel git tree (and I'm here assuming "origin"
    points to my trees), and you do
    
    
    
    
         git fetch --tags origin
    
    
    
    
    you _will_ now see the new "v5.12-rc1-dontuse" tag. But git won't
    remove the old v5.12-rc1 tag, because while git will see that it is
    not upstream, git will just assume that that simply means that it's
    your own local tag. Tags, unlike branch names, are a global namespace
    in git.
    
    
    
    
    So you should additionally do a "git tag -d v5.12-rc1" to actually get
    rid of the original tag name.
    
    
    
    
    Of course, having the old tag doesn't really do anything bad, so this
    git process thing is entirely up to you. As long as you don't _use_
    v5.12-rc1 for anything, having the tag around won't really matter, and
    having both 'v5.12-rc1' _and_ 'v5.12-rc1-dontuse' doesn't hurt
    anything either, and seeing both is hopefully already sufficient
    warning of "let's not use that then".
    
    
    
    
    Sorry for this mess,
                 Linus
    
    
    
    
    
  • A warning about 5.12-rc1

    Linus Torvalds has sent out a note telling people not to install the recent 5.12-rc1 development kernel; this is especially true for anybody running with swap files. "But I want everybody to be aware of because _if_ it bites you, it bites you hard, and you can end up with a filesystem that is essentially overwritten by random swap data. This is what we in the industry call 'double ungood'." Additionally, he is asking maintainers to not start branches from 5.12-rc1 to avoid future situations where people land in the buggy code while bisecting problems.

  •  
  • Linux 5.12-rc2 Likely Coming Early Due To That Nasty File-System Corruption Bug

    Linus Torvalds has now warned developers over using Linux 5.12-rc1 as a basis for their future branches and is looking to release 5.12-rc2 ahead of schedule as a result of that problematic file-system corruption bug stemming from a swap file bug. 

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