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Sad News! Scientific Linux is Being Discontinued

Brief: Scientific Linux, a distributions focused on scientists in high energy physics field, will not be developed anymore. It’s creator, Fermilab, is replacing it by CentOS in its labs.

End Of Scientific Linux
End Of Scientific Linux

Scientific Linux is one of the lesser known Linux distributions that is created to serve a niche user base. Scientific Linux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and it’s been co-developed by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

The goal of Scientific Linux is/was to provide a stable, scalable, and extensible operating system for scientific computing. It also intends to support “scientific research by providing methods and procedures for enabling the integration of scientific applications with the operating environment”.

Although its name and aim implies a distribution for all kind of science fields, Scientific Linux mainly focused and on high energy Physics.

Scientific Linux to be replaced by CentOS

Scientific Linux 7 Screenshot
Scientific Linux 7 Screenshot (Image Credit)

In a recent email, Fermilab announced that they are not going to develop the next version of Scientific Linux. In order to unify the computing platform with other collaborating labs and institutions, Scientific Linux will be replaced by CentOS, the community edition of Red Hat Linux.

we will deploy CentOS 8 in our scientific computing environments rather than develop Scientific Linux 8. We will collaborate with CERN and other labs to help make CentOS an even better platform for high-energy physics computing.

James Amundson, Head, Scientific Computing Division

It’s not that Scientific Linux will see an immediate shutdown. Fermilab will continue to support Scientific Linux 6 and 7 through the remainder of their respective lifecycles.

Fermilab will continue to support Scientific Linux 6 and 7 through the remainder of their respective lifecycles. Thank you to all who have contributed to Scientific Linux and who continue to do so

A typical Red Hat release gets ten years of maintenance support. Since RHEL 7 was release in mid 2014, this means that Scientific Linux 7 will be supported till mid 2024.

Your thoughts

I’ll be honest. I never used Scientific Linux although I have had heard of it. I presume that it has a ultra-niche userbase, mainly in the science labs associated with Fermilab.

Have you ever used Scientific Linux? What you think of another niche Linux distribution being shutdown? Do share your views in the comment section below.

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  • I have used SL since RHL became RHEL and Fedora was spawned (>15years?) and I just found out now as I was to make yet another installation ;(
    For me it is truly a sad day and a good bye to a long relation ship with many memories as to me SL is the most professional no BS distribution out there. I have quite a few times considered using CentOS but just the webpage have had me turn around in the door, when I need to “sell” production solutions where integrity is easily explained and SL did the job.
    For any other job I chose different distros but never RH based :P

  • I’m going to miss it. I have used it for my servers in place of CentOS since version 6. It probably didn’t have any more functionality than CentOS but with a dedicated team working on security and bug fixes on top of what CentOS was doing it worked very well. I hope they put as much work into CentOS and make it even better.

    • I agree, though I’ve replaced Scientific with CentOS and SmartOS for my VM server a while back. I had a hunch that Scientific would go the way of the DoDo. I’m actually surprised they lasted this long, especially with the strides that Suse and CentOS have been making in the server arena.

  • I’ve used Scientific Linux for a few years after getting fed up with how unstable Fedora was spun off from Red Hat. I moved to CENTOS after finding out how more popular it was over SL. I see now problem of seeing this distro disappearing. As long as there is one distro that is true to Red Hat, it shouldn’t make a difference.