TL;DR TechStack n-1 is dead. It ended with the rise of the clouds and software release cycles going down to weeks due to containerized CIs.
Beeing OpenSource-based, Ubuntu already had the concept of point releases every 6 months when the Docker and K8s hit the world and gave automated CIs a big boost in making system containers. Some years after Docker itself switched to a 3-month release cycle. So did the Linux Kernel with 2-3 months. Firefox 4-weeks.
And Microsoft? Windows 10 became a platform. Service Releases for the end customers every 6 months. Insider Program became a built-in feature of Windows 10. Now you can call that a rolling release!
Given that and comparing that to the old paradigm of “we don’t run edgy software” it may take 8 weeks or 6 months until we have already reached TechStack n – 2.
Now compare that with the speed of your management decision processes!
Sure, not every feature is important but some of them are business critical just like WSL2. Or sometimes you get a security requirement like please change the base image of the systems. Sometimes you save time and money if you just deploy applications as services by helm chart instead of fixing a custom setup for weeks. Sometimes it’s easier to just rollback a deployment on Kubernetes than replaying a build process in hope to rebuild a lost artifact (build once, deploy many).
And then you have security: there infrastructure is also changing. Snapshot technologies are on the rise (hypervisors/ostree/next gen filesystems like ZFS and BTRFS).
Back to WSL2. Why? Dev/Production parity. And maintaining one tool chain based on an image. Still you could use VMs and some indeed still do you Vagrant with all it’s problems Both Apple and Microsoft strife for best developer experience on their systems, simple because OpenSource and Linux has triumphed and it is run on the future market which is cloud native.
That is why every big company is behind the (corporate) Linux Foundation and (corporate) CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation). And that is probably why their certs are so cheap: because we need skilled developers that know their platform.
So, how do we keep up? Clouds are evolving fast and are ephemeral. So we need to become that too.
Not everyone is living at the edge and that’s also a requirement for a healthy system.
We need early adopters that can surf on the static noise generated by cloud native experiments, that can see where the ocean is moving. These are the OpenSource contributors and the ones birding GitHub repositories on their laptops.
We need those who can build stable container ships that sail the ocean. Those who know what’s happening on the technology radar.
We need skeptical ones that can see beyond fancy applications and hero myths to the bottom of underlying bare metal infrastructure.
We need people with long time experience knowing old and forgotten tricks.
Running that old techstack n-1 paradigm in modern environments has become dangerous and negligent.
PS.: Sure, for datacenters keep running your RHEL or CentOS with support until 2026!