[bitfolk] CentOS 8 installs now available from Xen Shell

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Author: Andy Smith
To: announce
Subject: [bitfolk] CentOS 8 installs now available from Xen Shell

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==TL;DR: version==
You can now perform a mostly-automated install of CentOS 8.x from
our Xen Shell:


xen shell> install centos_8

==Full version==
Installing CentOS 8 at BitFolk has previously only been possible by
booting the Rescue VM and doing it in a chroot:


This is because as of CentOS 8, Red Hat decided to disable support
for PV and PVH mode Xen guests in all their kernels, even though the
upstream Linux kernel does have that supported by default.

Thanks to some work by Jon Fautley¹ in hacking together a modified
installer kernel and initrd for CentOS and RHEL we were able to
boot the installer anyway, so now a more normal install experience
is possible.

It is still necessary for CentOS users to switch to the kernel-ml
kernel package from ElRepo, so our installer does that for you.

===But isn't CentOS 8 dead?===
Red Hat recently moved the EOL date for CentOS 8 forward from 2029
to 31 December 2021. After that point, existing CentOS 8 users would
need to switch to CentOS Stream or some other distribution.

We would like to support CentOS Stream, as well as RHEL and perhaps
one of the more popular CentOS replacements (e.g. Rocky Linux)
should they ever make a release. This work was necessary for that.

===Should I install CentOS 8?===
Probably not given its short remaining lifespan, unless you want to
switch it to CentOS 8 Stream or RHEL8 later.

If you do we'd like to know how you get on with our installer. It's
only received light testing so far.

CentOS 7 is still security supported by the CentOS Linux project
until 30 June 2024.

===What is CentOS Stream?===
I'm not going to try to explain what Red Hat's product lineup is. As
far as I understand it's a rolling release, i.e. constantly updated,
with packages that are about to go into the corresponding RHEL
release. Red Hat does not recommend it for production use.

Red Hat's announcement is here:

===Why are you considering offering RHEL?===
As of 1 February 2021 Red Hat is allowing its free Red Hat Developer
subscription to have up to 16 active servers:


It should be possible for us to support this soon, though with the
same caveat that it will likely be necessary to use the kernel-ml
EPEL package.

===Other questions?===
Please do ask if there's anything else.


¹ https://guv.cloud/

https://bitfolk.com/ -- No-nonsense VPS hosting
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