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This post highlights new, simplified and low-/no-cost options for deploying RHEL. These are the first of many new programs. To immediately go to the program that interests you:

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.

Today we’re sharing details about some of the new no- and low-cost programs we’re adding to RHEL. These are the first of many new programs.

No-cost RHEL for small production workloads

While CentOS Linux provided a no-cost Linux distribution, no-cost RHEL also exists today through the Red Hat Developer program. The program’s terms formerly limited its use to single-machine developers. We recognized this was a challenging limitation.

We’re addressing this by expanding the terms of the Red Hat Developer program so that the Individual Developer subscription for RHEL can be used in production for up to 16 systems. That’s exactly what it sounds like: for small production use cases, this is no-cost, self-supported RHEL. You need only to sign in with a free Red Hat account (or via single sign-on through GitHub, Twitter, Facebook, and other accounts) to download RHEL and receive updates. Nothing else is required. This isn’t a sales program and no sales representative will follow up. An option will exist within the subscription to easily upgrade to full support, but that’s up to you.

You can also use the expanded Red Hat Developer program to run RHEL on major public clouds including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. You have to pay only the usual hosting fees charged by your provider of choice; the operating system is free for both development and small production workloads.

The updated Individual Developer subscription for RHEL will be available no later than February 1, 2021.

No-cost RHEL for customer development teams

We recognized a challenge of the developer program was limiting it to an individual developer. We’re now expanding the Red Hat Developer program to make it easier for a customer’s development teams to join the program and take advantage of its benefits. These development teams can now be added to this program at no additional cost via the customer’s existing subscription, helping to make RHEL more accessible as a development platform for the entire organization. Through this program, RHEL can also be deployed via Red Hat Cloud Access and is accessible on major public clouds including AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure at no additional costs except for the usual hosting fees charged by your cloud provider of choice.

Bringing RHEL to additional use cases

We know that these programs don’t address every CentOS Linux use case, so we aren’t done delivering more ways to get RHEL easily. We’re working on a variety of additional programs for other use cases, and plan to provide another update in mid-February.

We want to make RHEL easier to use and are removing many barriers that stand in the way, working to keep pace with the evolving needs of Linux users, our customers and our partners. This requires us to continuously examine our development and business models to meet these changing needs. We believe that these new programs -- and those to follow -- work toward that goal.

We’re making CentOS Stream the collaboration hub for RHEL, with the landscape looking like this:

  • Fedora Linux is the place for major new operating system innovations, thoughts, and ideas - essentially, this is where the next major version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is born.

  • CentOS Stream is the continuously delivered platform that becomes the next minor version of RHEL.

  • RHEL is the intelligent operating system for production workloads, used in nearly every industry in the world, from cloud-scale deployments in mission-critical data centers and localized server rooms to public clouds and out to far-flung edges of enterprise networks.

We aren’t done with this work. We want to hear from you, whether or not your needs fall into one of the use cases described here.

Please contact us at centos-questions@redhat.com. This email address goes directly to the team developing these programs. We’ve heard you -- and will continue to listen to your comments and suggestions.

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