What is CentOS Stream?

A Linux development platform that allows Red Hat developers to collaborate with the open-source community members is CentOS Stream. Red Hat develops the Red Hat Enterprise Linux(RHEL) source code in CentOS Stream before releasing the newer versions. Therefore, it is considered as a part of the open-source development model. This model’s implementation makes CentOS Stream a preview of the future releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In the development process of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS Stream is composed as a critical component:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux: It is a production-ready enterprise operating system that is fully supported.
  • Fedora: The upstream project is the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Exceptional operating system developments are introduced here.
  • CentOS Stream: It provides a sneak peek at Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s subsequent major and minor releases. CentOS Stream lies between RHEL and Fedora. It gives developers a crystal clear picture of the next edition of RHEL. This allows developers to plan and design next-generation applications compatible with RHEL versions in the future. Before being included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, numerous Red Hat community members and ecosystem development partners contribute here.

Advantages of CentOS Stream:

  • It is not much different from CentOS.
  • It extracts new features before the RHEL distribution.
  • It has the potential of having a great development community.
  • This development platform is more agile than the previous one.

CentOS Stream and CentOS:

CentOS was recognized as a production-ready, enterprise-stable operating system cloned from Red Hat Enterprise Linux till 2021. It was different from RHEL in a few ways, but effectively it offered “RHEL without any subscription.

CentOS Stream is the “new CentOS” that will follow in the footsteps of Fedora, which serves as an RHEL upstream source. This statement declares that new features will be brought into CentOS Stream; this development will fix the bugs. After that, further updates will eventually make their way down to RHEL. Because of the tested distribution: CentOS Stream, RHEL is in its zone of supreme stability.

Doesn’t this seem like a decent deal for RHEL users? Obviously Yes! However, RHEL is more expensive, whereas CentOS is entirely free to use. So it is understandable that why Red Hat will bring instability into CentOS, obstructing the RHEL free alternative while enhancing the reliability of their distribution.

CentOS has a long history of being a stable operating system. Several machines in some enterprises use it. The news that CentOS has become significantly less stable has scared them. Still, some people may use CentOS Stream, particularly if they enjoy trying out new features and don’t need their computers to be highly stable. However, it leaves the majority of users will search for a substitute before the CentOS end-of-life date.

The future of CentOS Linux is CentOS Stream:

In September 2021, RHEL disclosed an upstream development platform that permitted ecosystem developers, CentOS community members, Red Hat partners, and other groups to look out for the upcoming change and play their part in product shape. Since it was declared, a lot of excitement is seen from contributors and partners of the project innovation of continuous Stream. As a result, the Red Hat team announced that it’s time to transfer all of our resources from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream.

Here, it is worth providing some examples of how our ecosystem has welcomed CentOS Stream as a “rolling preview” of RHEL future features and kernels. For example, Facebook has millions of servers serving its massive global social network, All of which have been or are being shifted to a CentOS Stream-based operating system. In this interval, Facebook continues to innovate internally on CentOS Stream. In addition, the Facebook company has recognized the worth of cooperating with Red Hat for expanding the capabilities of their platform.

Intel, who is a long-time Red Hat partner, has also shown its involvement in CentOS Stream. When Red Hat initially integrated CentOS Linux into its ecosystem, this project met the requirement for an innovation forum on its own. RDO, OKD, and many other community projects required a strong foundation, which CentOS Linux delivered. However, the open-source development model is not fixed. The model is in the process of evolving and adapting to meet the demands of identical communities and businesses.

Today’s technological world isn’t as straightforward as it was some years before. From ecosystems migrating to Software-as-a-Service(SaaS), cloud-native services to rapid hardware developments, and the containerized apps, the operating system struggles to meet requirements in a receptive approach.

This is the part where CentOS Stream comes into play. It can provide a platform for rapid community innovation while also presenting a solid foundation to acknowledge production dynamics. These improvements and feedback may be directed more swiftly into the production process, resulting in Linux platforms that cater to a wide range of user needs.

Red Hat accepted that devoting all of the resources to CentOS Stream is the most effective strategy to accelerate Linux innovation by bringing the larger ecosystem community closer to the side of RHEL development. CentOS Stream is presently sandwiched between the production reliability of RHEL and Fedora’s operating system innovation. Therefore, on December 31, 2021, Red Hat will exclusively invest in CentOS Stream to make it the major innovation hub for the RHEL ecosystem. Their support for CentOS Linux 7 will last until the maintenance updates of the distribution will end in 2024.

Red Hat team and different CentOS users are working with the CentOS Project Governing Board to create programs that cater to users’ specific needs. The developer’s team expects to provide a low or no-fee program for several use cases in the first half of 2021, including the alternatives for communities and open source projects. In addition, the teams will expand the RHEL subscription use cases to fulfill the requirements of system administrators.

CentOS has made RHEL and its supporting communities better. With CentOS Stream, the developer’s team wants to keep pushing for quicker and more collaborative Linux innovation. Red Hat also plans to provide the support, tools, and knowledge required to help all RHEL use cases migrate to the innovation hub.

CentOS Stream will also focus on a significant shift in CentOS Special Interest Group collaboration (SIGs). This assures that SIGs are working on and testing against the future version of RHEL. Instead of building and testing two releases, SIGs will have a single precise aim. It provides the CentOS contributor community a significant deal in RHEL’s future. It also clears up any ambiguity about what “CentOS” signifies in the Linux ecosystem.

CentOS Linux 8 is no longer supported; it will be the best time to upgrade your system to CentOS Stream 8, a minor step up from CentOS Linux 8. It also receives regular upgrades like conventional CentOS Linux versions. But, if in a challenging production environment, you are working on CentOS Linux 8 and are afraid CentOS Stream won’t fulfill your requirements, we recommend reaching out to RHEL for more details.

What Problems Does CentOS Stream Solve?

You may know the fact that RHEL development is restricted within Red Hat. Because RHEL as part of an open-source ecosystem, its exit space contributes to both the developers and the community to control and promote its development. CentOS Stream was introduced as a development build of RHEL or version to preview the new features of RHEL. CentOS Stream aims to give it a lift by allowing the community to have a role in RHEL development and contribute in their way.

From a business point of view, CentOS Stream intends to boost RHEL subscriptions, but don’t overlook the ease with which you can contribute to RHEL development by utilizing the CentOS Stream. That’s why it also strives to bring a more reliable version to preview RHEL. According to the Red Hat, the RHEL develops daily updates for CentOS Stream, which strive to enhance the stability of the CentOS Stream. Well, that’s fantastic news for anybody who wishes to try out RHEL’s new updates.

Will CentOS Stream replace CentOS Linux?

We cannot say that CentOS Stream is a replacement for CentOS Linux. CentOS Linux was a renewal version of RHEL. On the other hand, CentOS Stream is a development version of RHEL. This version features modifications and enhancements of RHEL. As a result, CentOS Stream is better suited to people who wish to see if their servers are future-proof and CentOS Linux users if the build is stable enough for their needs. It has its position cause CentOS Stream is the unavoidable and a natural next step towards the advanced innovation of enterprise Linux. It also has a compressed loop of feedback between RHEL developers. As Red Hat creates future versions of RHEL, feedback loop compression makes it easier for all the voices to be heard, whether they are individual contributors or large partners.

Red Hat also welcomes all developers and partners to participate in CentOS Stream and create their branches, enabling this innovation hub to test solutions to their unique problems. It is accepted that CentOS Stream is the enterprise Linux of the future. It will help the community have a remarkable impact on the RHEL releases direction. Red Hat internal projects will be passed to CentOS Stream, allowing them to share tactics and best operational practices with the larger community as this work progresses.

Migration towards CentOS Stream:

The process of updating your CentOS system to CentOS Stream is not much complicated. The CentOS team has created a program that automates CentOS repositories’ removal and adds CentOS Stream repositories. But, before you shift or update your system, it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your system. Should you go ahead and do it? That is entirely dependent on your impressions of CentOS Stream after having all information related to CentOS Stream.


Red Hat develops the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source code in CentOS Stream before releasing the newer versions. So we can say that CentOS Stream provides a sneak peek at the major and minor releases of Red Hat. This post has shared the essential information related to CentOS Stream, including its introduction, advantages, and comparison of CentOS with CentOS Stream. We have also talked about the problems that CentOS Stream will solve. Furthermore, a deep core discussion about the future of CentOS is also provided in this post.

About the author

Talha Saif Malik

Talha is a contributor at Linux Hint with a vision to bring value and do useful things for the world. He loves to read, write and speak about Linux, Data, Computers and Technology.