It’s a lovely post and I agree with most everything the author says.
But I do believe, he talks past the main reason folks like me use CentOS. (and the main reason, Rocky Linux now exists.)
CentOS came into existence because sci/tech folk wanted a base to build on and became popular, because old harried sysadmins like me wanted to support small shops, who did not have the budget to run servers and wanted to get out of the ever tightening thumb of Microsoft.
CentOS powered supercomputers and small and medium businesses with equal ease.
So what’s the bit that I believe missing in the post?
The target audience.
While I am sure the sci/tech community can prop up another distribution at will, the big reason CentOS is so popular, is because CentOS machines sit silently in tiny dusty corners at millions of offices, chugging away, serving files and documents and tiny intranets and enabling developers to work on an enterprise OS.2
What we needed and still need is the ability to have the engineering that goes into a stable release (backed by a major corp), so that we can get on with life.
Also yes, telling folks Yes!, this is Red Hat without the branding, gave folks the confidence they needed to come aboard the Linux ship in the early to mid 2000s.
And that’s what we are looking for.
A 100% bug-for-bug compatible distribution.
We want, what Red Hat provides. Not what they might put in or stuff that is under consideration.
Not the latest and shiniest.
Just the boring, and stable and working.
That’s what we want. And what we mourn.
And that is something Red Hat no longer seems interested in supporting.
They are well within their rights to do so, but now it leaves this large segment, scrambling.
One may argue, that all that is now changing and everyone is moving to the cloud, and that Red Hat is just moving with the times and such stuff is probably moot.
But the outcry and the search for alternatives and new distributions to take its place, proves such a need still exists.
We need something to take the place of CentOS.
And CentOS Stream, for all its advantages, isn’t it.