FreePBX and CentOS base: CentOS is dead from now on


CentOS (the base of FreePBX distro) decided to drop support for CentOS 8 until end of 2021. It is replaced by CentOS stream - which just isnt’t usable for production environments.

What are your thoughts how to proceed regarding FreePBX base? CentOS 7 seems to be supported as initially told and planned. But what about the future regarding the base of FreePBX distro?


Why not?

I read the post and saw all the griping comments. Is Stream meant to be unstable or are people just assuming that because of the rolling-release delivery method?

There was several discussions of making FreePBX rolling release too. It is a faster release model than major intervals.

CentOS (mainly redhat) is not going to shoot themselves in the foot and lose their user base. They paid a lot of cash for those users

CentOS stream is “the upstream (development) branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux”. It is a development distribution! Development distributions are not usable for production use! “If you are using CentOS Linux 8 in a production environment, and are concerned that CentOS Stream will not meet your needs, we encourage you to contact Red Hat about options.” -> That’s their own statement!

So Centos 7 is maintained til 2024.

This DOES put the responsibility on you to manage your updates and not yum update with great abandon :slight_smile:

Cringe…Oracle Linux is 100% application binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Insert explicitives…

Of course that is their statement. They are a business. The only purpose of a business is to make a profit. There is zero other reason for a business to exist.

CentOS Stream is not even close to development. Not even Fedora is “development” and it is upstream of Stream.

Fedora -> CentOS Stream -> RHEL

This is marketing to get people to pay for RHEL support. Bad marketing, but that does not surprise me from IBM.

IMO, this is about getting RHEL onto a rolling release cycle eventually.
CentOS has been losing horribly on the “what is running my crap” surveys for a while. Why? Because old ass crap like PHP 5.4.

Aside from packaged things like FreePBX, I do not run anything on CentOS anymore. Everything is either Fedora or Debian.

Just so that everybody here knows, Sangoma is aware of this problem and we’re trying to figure out how to move forward. As many of you are probably aware, we were planning on moving the distro for FreePBX forward to be based on CentOS 8 as part of one of our FreePBX 16 goals.

Now that CentOS 8 is not going to exist as we’d previously expected, we’re having to take a step back and figure out if we need to take a different approach. I’m not sure at this point if that means basing it on a different CentOS based fork, looking at alternative distributions as an option (debian, ubuntu, etc), as a lot of that has yet to be determined and needs to be well thought out.

Or maybe the CentOS guys will realize after all the community backlash what a bad idea it was and this will all go away. Or not.

Anyways, lots to figure out here, that’s for sure.

Best wishes,
Matthew Fredrickson


Look at NetBSD… It’s not Linux, but the OS licensing makes a lot of sense and there’s already Asterisk support.


As much as I love the BSD’s, not sure it would be the best marketing approach. Everyone knows Linux without qualification. Not so much for BSDs. There are enough differences to drive Linux folks nuts.


^^ he said it, not me :slight_smile:


I’m not sure at this point if that means basing it on a different CentOS based fork, looking at alternative distributions as an option (debian, ubuntu, etc), as a lot of that has yet to be determined and needs to be well thought out.

Or maybe the CentOS guys will realize after all the community backlash what a bad idea it was and this will all go away. Or not.

I’m sure the hope from your end is that IBM/Red Hat/CentOS reverses course or that the project forks and returns the Community Enterprise OS to the community it’s named after, obviously that’d be the lowest effort path forward.

If that doesn’t play out though, I’d definitely put my vote towards a Debian base. Ubuntu LTS would be OK as well, but the advantage I see to Ubuntu is mostly in the PPAs that are less relevant to a purpose-specific distro, so without that as a major factor I like sticking close to the root of the tree. Most of my headaches with FreePBX Distro have been related to quirks of the RPM system so I’d be glad to have the next one be APT based one way or another.


I was the BSD FAQ Maintainer for about 10 years, so it’s not really an issue for me. :slight_smile:

I thought it was a bright day when RH took CentOS under its wing. Then a 4$Corp IBM bought them and sadly for me something like this was expected. Just like when $$Oracle bought Sun and brought the end to OpenOffice as we knew it and it never caught back up to where the LibreOffice fork took it from there.

Most of the management appliances these days are going the Deb route and I have several Ubuntu kiosk that run day after day with no issues. Though my early experience has been the RH way which goes all the way back to Asterisk@Home then Trixbox and now FreePBX. It makes no diff to me any longer. I read a lot of complaints on here about how some old code of some of the modules needs to obsoleted and maybe this will trigger Sangoma to take that big step. With the well done backup and warm spare options we now have to choose from, even a new install and a move to a new VM would not be such a big issue, but then I do only have one to manage.

I feel for all the folks that have to make some hard decisions that some of us won’t like coming out of this.

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Rocky Linux could be an alternative.


I got up to date freepbx 15 machines running under debian buster (10.something) that started off being FreePBX 2.8 running under debian etch (4.something) ten years ago.



With the switching of their license platform they can support modules on Debian. They would have to rework huge chunks of the sysadmin module because most of the features are written around settings, syntax etc of EL systems. So as they put it in the rocky project they would want to stick to a “bug for bug” compatible version of EL.

I will say the new system would support ARM too and not be x86 exclusive. Most of the ARM folks are running Debian. Commercial modules on ARM platforms would be cool.


I would be happy anyway if FreePBX Distro switches to Debian (or Ubuntu, I prefer Debian). It has, for example, bigger software repositories. Sometimes you need not only the installed software, I needed a software for sending e-mails after each received call. Debian has the better solution for it.
All in all, I don’t see really a reason to use CentOS for it, whatever RedHat decides. Maybe it’s because of CentOS is longer supported, but to upgrade a Debian/Ubuntu system is not a big deal.

IBM are hoping that CentOS users will change to RHEL with the additional revenue that might generate.

However, I think the opposite will happen and people using CentOS-based production servers will stick to version 7 and then look elsewhere for a stable linux platform.

FreePBX has always been based on CentOS, as was trixbox back in the day, and CentOS was always based on RHEL Sources. I wouldnt think it would be too hard for Sangoma linux to switch from CentOS sources to RHEL Sources, or fork completely.

Something with ARM and x86 support would be ideal as ARM is ever advancing and opens opportunities for low-cost/low-power systems.

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