CentOS/RHEL support

With CentOS 6 reaching EOL in November 2020, we just dropped support for it. 2.46.0 was the last release to support it and the about-to-be-released 2.46.1 will not support building on CentOS 6.

We have an interesting situation coming up this year where CentOS 8 will go EOL before CentOS 7. That is not a typo. The future is something called CentOS Stream, which is upstream from RHEL. So they are changing from Fedora → RHEL → CentOS to Fedora → CentOS → RHEL. Given CentOS Stream actually concurrently exists alongside CentOS 8, maybe it is upstream from CentOS 8 (Fedora → Centos Stream 8 → RHEL 8 → CentOS 8) but I honestly have no idea. Clear as mud?

So we have a decision to make: what do we do when CentOS 8 goes EOL in December 2021? Regardless of what we decide, it seems we will have a degraded ability to support RHEL.

We still have a long runway to decide, but I thought I may as well raise the issue now.

If centos is upstream of RHEL (which i think you are right, red hat is using centos as a testbed for rhel), then we can still support rhel by supporting centos. We might have faster-moving packages underneath us than before but not much else will change.

Centos is still free, right? Like you don’t need a license do you?

We can still support RHEL, but not as comprehensively. Previously we had the ability to try distros either side of RHEL (Fedora vs CentOS). Now we only have the option of trying distros upstream from RHEL. It’s going to be more challenging to determine which patches have or have not yet made it into RHEL.

The plot thickens…

In response to the backlash about their plan, Red Hat has announced they will provide free RHEL licenses to selected open source projects. In what is unfortunately becoming a pattern, it is difficult to interpret exactly what their words mean. From the main body of the announcement it sounds like Graphviz would qualify, but then right at the end they say “We realize this program doesn’t cover situations where open source projects are using Public CI infrastructure provided by third-parties.” So I don’t really know if Graphviz is eligible or not.

My personal feeling is that we’re juggling so many other things and OSS exemptions that we don’t have time to coordinate with Red Hat on this, even if Graphviz is eligible.

If any RHEL users are reading this, it would be interesting to hear from you. I personally don’t use RHEL and don’t know anyone who does, so I’m uncertain what RHEL Graphviz users’ actual needs are.