CentOS 7 is now in full maintenance mode until 2024. This means it won’t get any updates except security fixes and some mission critical bugs. In addition to being in full maintenance mode, the OS is simply beginning to show its age. It’s still a great OS, just that a lot of packages are very far behind “state of the art.” Packages like git, bash and even the kernel are missing some features that I prefer to have available. With that in mind, and an abundance of time on a Saturday, I decided to upgrade the underlying operating system hosting the site.
The choice of what operating system was not as simple as it was just a year ago. In the past I would have simply spun up the next release of CentOS, which is based off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and configured it for whatever duty it was to perform. However, Red Hat had a different idea and decided to make CentOS 8 a rolling release that RHEL is based off of, rather than CentOS being a rebadged clone of RHEL. The history of CentOS is a surprisingly complex and you can read about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CentOS.
Since the change, at least a few options are now available to give people, like me, access to a Linux distribution they know and can trust. Among those, Rocky Linux appears to be getting enough traction for me to adopt it as my next Linux distribution. My needs for Linux are pretty basic and more than anything I just want to know that I can install updates without issue and keep the system going for a number of years before I have to worry about it. Rocky Linux gives me that just like CentOS did before. As of this writing, the web server hosting this site is now running Rocky Linux 8 and I’ll upgrade the database server at a later time. So far it has proven to be identical to RHEL and very familiar to anyone who has used RHEL/CentOS in the past.