CentOS, RHEL and Scientific Linux 4 reach their End of Life - Update
The CentOS and Scientific Linux projects have stopped maintaining the series 4 versions of their Linux distributions. According to the "End of Life" (EOL) notifications by CentOS and Scientific Linux, there will be no further security fixes for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4-based distributions. Users will, therefore, need to switch to other versions.
The reason for the decision is that, after seven years, RHEL 4 has reached its regular End of Life. As part of its optional Extended Lifecycle Support (ELS), which comes at a price, Red Hat will offer its customers three further years of support – but only for some of the RHEL 4 software. Unlike in the first seven years of the life cycle, Red Hat will not make the source code packages (SRPMs) for these updates available on public servers, from where the CentOS and Scientific Linux developers usually obtain them.
The EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux) package repository, which is hosted by the Fedora project, has also announced that it will discontinue the repositories for RHEL 4 and compatible distributions. Over the past few months, CentOS, EPEL, Red Hat and Scientific Linux had issued reminders that the versions were approaching their End of Life.
RHEL 5, which was introduced about 2 years after RHEL 4, will reach its regular End of Life in five years, because Red Hat plans to maintain versions 5 and 6 of the Linux distribution for ten years instead of seven. Oracle Linux, and probably also CentOS and Scientific Linux, plan to follow this example with their versions 5 and 6. However, Oracle plans to continue the maintenance of the series 4 version of its RHEL clone until February 2013.
Update - Shortly after the publication of this article, Red Hat officially confirmed the end of regular support for RHEL 4.