Notes to self

CentOS 8 free alternatives

CentOS 8 EOL is around the corner, so it’s time to evaluate and try the alternatives. I prepared a small table for everybody with the basic overview.

List of free CentOS 8 alternatives:

OS Authors Support Commercial Support Backing Migration Differences ISOs Container Images
CentOS Stream Red Hat almost 5y for 8.x, then 5-6y No Red Hat centos-stream-repos package No Download Yes
Rocky Linux Gregory M. Kurtzer & community 10y (?) No AWS, Fastly, GitLab, Google (& more) Script No Download Yes
AlmaLinux CloudLinux OS 10y (2029) by Tux Care AWS, Chef, ARM, cPanel (& more) Script No Download Yes
Oracle Linux Oracle 10y (2029) by Oracle Oracle Script Option to choose RHEL or Oracle Linux kernel Download Yes
RHEL Red Hat 10y (2029) by Red Hat Red Hat Convert2RHEL More commercial software available Download Yes (UBI)


  • RHEL is free for commercial use for up to 15 virtual machines, but registration is required.
  • RHEL is the original, so it receives the security fixes the fastest (even before Stream).
  • CentOS Stream is the only one on the list that’s not RHEL clone, it’s actually upstream to RHEL and receives all features the first.
  • Red Hat and Oracle will most likely let you buy extended support beyond the standard 10 years lifecycle.
  • Differences in the table only reflects changes beyond trademarks and cosmetics
by Josef Strzibny