Back in December, Red Hat announced that CentOS was shifting directions – instead of being a bug-for-bug compatible release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, they decided to take away the “free” RHEL option but in their announcement, they left a clue as to what was coming:
In the first half of 2021, we plan to introduce low- or no-cost programs for a variety of use cases, including options for open source projects and communities and expansion of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer subscription use cases to better serve the needs of systems administrators. We’ll share more details as these initiatives coalesce.
Sure enough, “in the first half of 2021,” they gave us their plan:
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 right – for taking CentOS away, they’re giving you 16 free licenses to RHEL, over the previous 1 that was introduced in 2016. This “upgrade” to the program is at least a nice touch, though it doesn’t completely make up for what has happened to CentOS, there’s at least options now.