Red Hat is looking to make it easier for DevOps teams to absorb leading-edge innovations as they are slipstreamed into a new distribution of CentOS.
CentOS is a distribution of Linux based on a fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The team that oversees CentOS operates independently of Red Hat. That team in collaboration with Red Hat is making available an additional distribution dubbed CentOS Stream, through which a continuous stream of content will be updated several times daily.
Mike McGrath, senior director for Linux engineering at Red Hat, said those innovations eventually will find their way into RHEL, but until then developers who want to build applications using those features as they become available can use CentOS Stream.
This latest distribution of Linux from Red Hat is intended to act as a bridge between Fedora, a distribution of Linux through which Red Hat makes available experimental technologies, and RHEL, he said.
McGrath said developers have been asking for a more stable distribution of Linux that provides access to innovations that are likely to be incorporated in RHEL, which so many IT organizations today deploy in production environments. CentOS Stream will make it easier for developers to take advantage of those new capabilities a lot sooner than they can today, he noted.
CentOS Stream will be maintained in parallel to CentOS, which means organizations that have decided to standardize on CentOS are not going to be impacted by updates to CentOS Stream.
As more organizations subscribe to software, version numbers associated with any software platform are becoming less relevant. Many DevOps teams especially want to be able to take advantage of new capabilities within the context of a continuous integration process when and if they see fit, rather than waiting for a formal update of a piece of software to be released.
It will be interesting to see how many IT organizations embrace CentOS Stream at a time when many of them are under increased pressure to build innovative applications faster. In many instances, those innovations are dependent on features and capabilities embedded in the operating system, so waiting for those capabilities to show up in a major RHEL upgrade isn’t especially helpful. Many developers want to be able to exploit those capabilities the minute they are certified to run on RHEL. In many cases, developers are gaining access to those features only a few short months ahead of time whenever a preview edition of the next version of RHEL is made available.
Eventually, every software platform provider will need to come up with some similar approach to CentOS Stream to provide developers with early access to new capabilities. In many cases, developers already have access to next-generation features if they have a close relationship with the platform provider. However, the process for making new capabilities available to developers remains haphazard at best.