Red Hat introduces new no-cost RHEL option

As you know, Red Hat recently announced that CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of RHEL 8, will end in 2021. CentOS Stream continues after that date, serving as the upstream (development) branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The news met with a strong reaction from the open-source community and CentOS users. Today, Red Hat released a new option where RHEL developer subscriptions can now be used in production environments. The developers and team can have up to 16 systems. In other words, it is a no-cost RHEL that small groups and developers can use to build packages and in production environments.

Red Hat introduces new no-cost RHEL option

The new option supposed to help:

  1. Developers
  2. Sysadmins
  3. Home lab builders
  4. Small dev teams
  5. Non-profits who were previously using CentOS as a drop-in replacement for RHEL.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux programs details

Now you can have a 100% RHEL no-cost subscription for the following two types of groups:

1. RHEL for small production workloads

Red Hat developer program allows single machine subscription for developers. You can’t use a developer subscription in production. However, this changes today:

The Individual Developer subscription for RHEL can be used in production for up to 16 systems. That’s exactly what it sounds like: for small production use cases, this is no-cost, self-supported RHEL. You need only to sign in with a free Red Hat account to download RHEL and receive updates. Nothing else is required. This isn’t a sales program, and no sales representative will follow up. An option will exist within the
subscription to easily upgrade to full support, but that’s up to you.

What’s more, you can now use these subscriptions with cloud service providers like Google cloud platform (CCP), AWS, and Microsoft. Azure. All you have to do is pay for hosting fees. Hell, one can use Linode and install such an operating system. That seems quite generous to me as many experienced developers, and Linux enthusiasts can work with RHEL without any support contract. I just wish they announced this news before dropping CentOS 8 ball upon all of us.

2. No-cost RHEL for customer development teams

Individual RHEL developer subscription option always had many limitations. Now they are making it easier for a customer’s development teams to join the program and take advantage of its benefits. These development teams can now be added to this program at no additional cost via the customer’s existing subscription.

How do I subscribe?

This updated Individual Developer subscription for RHEL will be available from February 1, 2021, to everyone, including the existing Individual Developer RHN subscribers.

Summing up

In short, now Red Hat offers a free RHEL subscription to both developers and anyone who wish to run in production up to 16 licenses (server or VMs running in the cloud). Fedora will act as a cutting edge operating system for Linux desktop users, and the next major version of RHEL will be based upon Fedora. CentOS stream will continue as a development branch for the next RHEL minor version. Nothing changed for existing enterprise customers, banks, governments, data center users, and more. They will keep using a paid subscription as usual. If you need more than 16 servers powered by RHEL, you need to buy a subscription.

What do you think? Would you try out free RHEL up to 16 systems? I think it is a right balance between paid and free subscription that addresses the void created by the planned EOL of CentOS 8. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. I believe Red Hat employees and management do read feedback posted here.

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