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What is CentOS Stream?

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CentOS Stream is a Linux® distribution where open source community members can develop, test, and contribute to a continuously delivered distribution upstream for Red Hat® Enterprise Linux—all in tandem with Red Hat developers

Red Hat develops the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code in the CentOS Stream development platform before releasing new Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 is the first major release built within CentOS Stream.

CentOS Stream provides greater transparency and more opportunities for community, partner, and customer participation.

The platform is an important part of the larger Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code development process:

  • Fedora: The upstream project on which future Red Hat Enterprise Linux major releases are based. This is where significant operating system (OS) innovations are introduced.

  • CentOS Stream: CentOS Stream better connects ISV, IHV and other ecosystem developers to the OS developers of the Fedora Project–the foundation of the Fedora OS. This shortens the feedback loop and makes it easier for all voices to be heard in the creation of the next Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux: A production-grade operating system that provides a more secure, supported, and flexible foundation for critical workloads and applications.

When you use CentOS Stream, you benefit by gaining early access to the same source code Red Hat developers and engineers use to produce the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The platform provides a continuous stream of content, making CentOS Stream a preview of future Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases. 

CentOS Stream code becomes the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so you can contribute directly to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and test your workloads before new releases are published. 

Let’s say you’re a Red Hat Enterprise Linux user who has identified a change that is needed in the next version. You can propose that change to CentOS Stream for Red Hat developers to evaluate. If accepted, your change is tested, verified, and will land in CentOS Stream, and the change will be in the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

For current CentOS Linux users who will have to migrate between 2021 and 2024, CentOS Stream is a migration path which allows you to participate in the development of future versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For organizations that need a production-grade platform for important business applications and workloads, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the recommended option.

The creation of CentOS Stream provides a new mechanism for partners and community members to add innovation to the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as it’s being built instead of after it’s built. CentOS Linux, on the other hand, is downstream of Red Hat Enterprise Linux—most often used for development and deployment—and doesn't have a contribution model. Updates to CentOS Linux will discontinue between 2021 and 2024.

While migrating from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream is simple, there is no easy process for moving from CentOS Stream to another Linux distribution if it does not meet your operational requirements. 

If you plan to migrate to CentOS Stream yourself, Red Hat’s Convert2RHEL tool lets you easily and quickly convert your CentOS Linux systems directly into Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. Even so, the Convert2RHEL tool does not work with CentOS Stream, so you must reinstall your operating system from the repo if you decide to deploy CentOS Stream as an interim before moving to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Convert2RHEL can also be used in Oracle Linux to migrate to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. 

Engage Red Hat Consulting to help accelerate your migration. Red Hat experts bring proven knowledge and experience to your migration project. Red Hat Consulting can also help you identify and convert key applications and workloads, as well as  mentor and enable you to continue confidently afterward.

Migrate from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream

Community contributors to CentOS Stream get early access to the same code Red Hat developers and engineers use to produce the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

  • Hardware partners and application developers can test their solutions, checking that everything works as it should with the next release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • Community members can contribute new features and patches that can improve the capabilities and security of the next Red Hat Enterprise Linux release.
  • Users of CentOS Stream can share feedback without having to wait for the next Red Hat Enterprise Linux release.

Keep learning about CentOS Stream


Open Source community projects

1. Open source community projects

A collection of projects, each working toward their own goals

Fedora Linux

2. Fedora Linux

Brings together the best ideas from the huge number of open source community projects available

CentOS Stream

3. CentOS Stream

Provides a seamless contribution path to the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux

A production-grade operating system that provides a more secure, supported, and flexible foundation for critical workloads and applications

Contributions flow among all elements of the ecosystem; however, there is a stronger connection between CentOS Stream and Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. They each contribute to the other while ensuring that new code is submitted as far upstream as possible; and, ideally, directly into the relevant open source community projects.

For production use: Migrate to Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Convert2RHEL.

For Red Hat Enterprise Linux development or testing: Download CentOS Stream.

For individual developers: Get a no-cost developer subscription.

For Red Hat customer development teams: Get a no-cost developer subscription for teams.

For containerized apps: Use the Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI).

For upstream OS innovation: Get involved in the Fedora project.

For software resale or hardware compatibility: Join Red Hat Partner Connect.

Red Hat offers a variety of platforms–including CentOS Stream–to help meet a host of developer needs. 

  • The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer subscription is a free, self-supported subscription for developers. It provides a development/test environment for applications that are meant to be deployed into production on the stable, more secure, and high-performance foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

 

  • The Red Hat Universal Base Image is a free-of-charge, redistributable, and developer-ready image for creating containerized, cloud-native enterprise applications. Developers can more easily create certified applications for production deployment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and across Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud portfolio, including Red Hat OpenShift. It also enables compatible container images with other operating systems.

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