CentOS 7 dies on June 30th, but SUSE says it’s as simple as switching repositories to SUSE Liberty to keep running CentOS servers as usual.

Berlin–How important is it that CentOS 7 reaches its end of life on June 30th? More than you probably know. In the SUSECon 24 keynote, Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen, SUSE‘s CEO, confided that even today, 30% of all enterprise Linux servers are running CentOS. What’s a company to do? Simple: Switch to SUSE Liberty Linux Lite for CentOS 7.

Liberty Linux Lite provides a straightforward path for CentOS 7 users to receive ongoing security updates and support without the hassle of migrating to a new operating system. SUSE promises that with Liberty Linux Lite, business leaders will see “zero disruption, zero migrations, and zero upgrades.” All they need to do, SUSE’s GM of the Business Critical Linux team, Rick Spencer, said, is simply change their CentOS 7 update repository to SUSE’s, avoiding any disruptive migrations or upgrades.

Other CentOS 7 alternatives, such as AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux, CentOS Stream, Oracle Linux, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL),  require migrating to a new operating system. Only Liberty Linux Lite lets customers stick with the operating system they know and trust.

This isn’t SUSE’s first attempt to court disillusioned CentOS users. In 2021, SUSE launched its broader SUSE Liberty Linux program “to give CentOS users an easy path to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)” in the wake of Red Hat’s decision to shift CentOS to a rolling release model.

With SUSE Liberty Linux Lite, the company is doubling down on its efforts to position itself as the go-to enterprise Linux for organizations seeking long-term support and stability. Pricing starts at a reasonable $25 per server/instance per year, with a minimum $2,500 investment required. This is less than some support companies are quoting for their post-end-of-life CentOS 7 support contracts.

SUSE Liberty Linux Lite is also the first Linux distro to appear that’s based on the Open Enterprise Linux Association (OpenELA) Linux code base. In OpenELA,  CIQ, Oracle and SUSE came together to create “the development of distributions compatible with RHEL by providing open and free enterprise Linux source code.”

OpenELA is a direct response to Red Hat’s alterations to RHEL source code availability. OpenELA’s codebase was released in November  2023. With it, anyone can build RHEL, and thus CentOS, compatible distributions. As Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE’s chief technology and product officer, said at the time, “We’re pleased to deliver on our promise of making source code available and to continue our work together to provide choice to our customers while we ensure that Enterprise Linux source code remains freely accessible to the public.”

As for CentOS 7, rest assured. SUSE is committed to providing long-life updates for CentOS 7 until June 30, 2028. This ensures a stable and secure platform for four more years, a crucial lifeline for organizations with mission-critical workloads on CentOS 7.

Eventually, businesses will need to switch to another, newer Linux distribution. In the meantime, SUSE is offering a lifeline for the many companies that have waited until the 11th hour to leave CentOS.