Difference Between AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux

Posted on by Ronald Caldwell
Reading Time: 5 minutes

AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, both Linux operating systems compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), offer virtually the same features. Let’s discover the difference between the two OSes and which one could be the OS that’s better for you.

What is AlmaLinux

AlmaLinux is a free, open-source Linux operating system. RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), announced in 2020, that CentOS would change to CentOS Stream. After the discontinuation of the CentOS Linux stable release, AlmaLinux emerged as an alternative. AlmaLinux was released in 2021 and is community owned and operated. Alma means “soul” in Spanish, and the name, AlmaLinux, was chosen to show respect to the Linux community.

AlmaLinux Advantages

Here are some advantages of using AlmaLinux:

  • Forever-free.
  • Robust production-grade platform.
  • Enterprise-grade server OS.
  • 1:1 binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and pre-Stream CentOS.
  • Stable Linux distribution focused on long-term stability.
  • Switching from CentOS and other RHEL derivatives to AlmaLinux is easy.
  • Regular releases that come with long support windows.

AlmaLinux Disadvantages

Here are some disadvantages of using AlmaLinux:

  • AlmaLinux is new with less experience compared to alternative Linux distributions.
  • Considerably less funding is secured for AlmaLinux compared to Rocky Linux.

Read more on What is AlmaLinux to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of AlmaLinux, or explore CentOS vs AlmaLinux: A Comparison to learn why CentOS vs CentOS Stream is important as it gives context to why AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux were created.

What is Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is a free, open-source operating system. This Linux distribution is 100% bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). When Red Hat announced the transition from CentOS to CentOS Stream in 2020, Gregory Kurtzer, CIQ CEO, announced his new project, Rocky Linux. Gregory, one of the original founders of CentOS, wanted to achieve the original goals of CentOS. Named after CentOS cofounder, Rocky McGaugh, Rocky Linux was released in 2021 and quickly became the top-trending repository on GitHub.

Rocky Linux Advantages

Here are some advantages of using Rocky Linux:

  • No cost.
  • Production-ready, enterprise operating system.
  • Solid stability, including regular updates and a 10-year support lifecycle.
  • An easy-to-use migration script to migrate from other Enterprise Linux distributions.
  • Under intensive development by the community.
  • A greater amount of funding is secured for Rocky Linux compared to AlmaLinux.

Rocky Linux Disadvantages

Here are some disadvantages of using Rocky Linux:

  • Rocky Linux is new with less experience compared to alternative Linux distributions.
  • Developers and power users may prefer an alternative Linux distribution because the latest applications take time to become available.

Check out the Rocky Linux website for the latest news, FAQs, and organizational structure content.

AlmaLinux vs. Rocky Linux: Key Differences

Released only three months apart, AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux are built from RHEL source code to address the gap left by the CentOS transition to CentOS Stream. There are a few differences regarding RHEL compatibility, architecture support, support, performance, purpose, and updates. The main differences are regarding community, app compatibility, security, funding, and sponsorships.

AlmaLinux vs. Rocky Linux - Community

While both AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux have a loyal community, they are very different.

AlmaLinux was originally created by CloudLinux and developed in close collaboration with the Linux community. When AlmaLinux became available in 2021, CloudLinux announced the formation of a non-profit organization, AlmaLinux OS Foundation, to take over responsibility for managing the AlmaLinux project. CloudLinux has made an annual commitment of $1 million to support the project. To ensure the distribution is free of limitations, fees, and charges, the AlmaLinux OS Foundation members, sponsors, and partners support AlmaLinux with investments and long support commitments. The members of the community govern the ongoing development of AlmaLinux.

Rocky Linux was developed by a privately owned benefit corporation, Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF). According to RESF, their vision is to “create and nurture a community of individuals and organizations that are committed to ensuring the longevity, stewardship, and innovation of enterprise-grade/class open source software that is always freely available.” RESF’s goal is to create a balanced and fair distribution of community control and enable enterprise use cases, vendors, and commercial entities.

AlmaLinux vs. Rocky Linux - App Compatibility

Even though many enterprise apps are fully compatible with RHEL, they may not be compatible with AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux. Enterprises work with the engineering teams at AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux to provide a certain level of certification for their apps. For example, Nvidia and Google Cloud certify their apps on Rocky Linux while Dell and Liquid Web support AlmaLinux.

AlmaLinux vs. Rocky Linux - Security

Both AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux have high security, but they provide different security features.

AlmaLinux provides the OpenSCAP (Open Security Content Automation Protocol) tool, allowing you to automatically check the system for vulnerabilities. Since AlmaLinux comes with CIS (Center for Internet Security) Benchmark, users can configure their system security and access a full report on potential security issues. CIS Benchmarks provide best-practice security configuration guides to help safeguard against evolving cyber threats.

Rocky Linux recently achieved an important security milestone in the extensive validation process, Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 140-3 (FIPS 140-3), when the OS was named to the NIST Implementation Under Test List. FIPS 140-3 is a U.S. government computer security standard, needed for applications with high security requirements.

AlmaLinux vs. Rocky Linux - Funding

Rocky Linux has secured considerably greater funding than AlmaLinux. CIQ, the official founding sponsor and support and service partner for the Rocky Linux project, contributed $26 million to Rocky Linux. Along with support from other sponsors, CloudLinux contributes $1 million annually to AlmaLinux.

AlmaLinux vs. Rocky Linux  - Cloud Provider Marketplace

The AlmaLinux marketing target is server, desktop computer, workstation, and supercomputer users. Python, Shell, Perl, HCL, and Vue are among the top languages used on the AlmaLinux GitHub. The AlmaLinux OS blog is where the community shares infrastructure, events, and other outreach and improvement plans. The AlmaLinux Wiki includes special interest groups such as infrastructure, cloud, build system, live media, and migration. You can also view a list of SIG (Special Interest Group) members and their contact information.

The Rocky Linux marketing target is desktop computers, servers, and supercomputer users. Rocky Linux 9.0 supports little-endian PowerPC processors and IBM Z (s390x) mainframes. On the Rocky Linux GitHub, you can discover projects and share your projects with other members of the community.

Conclusion

So, which one do you choose? If you’re familiar with the hosting industry and CloudLinux, you may want to choose AlmaLinux. But if you want to go with an OS that’s supported by a multi-million dollar investment, Rocky Linux may be the best OS for your needs. Since both OSes are similar in almost every feature, go with the one based on the community of your preference.

Liquid Web supports AlmaLinux on VPS Hosting, Cloud Dedicated Servers, and Dedicated Servers. We put together a series of AlmaLinux tutorials to show you how easy it is to get started with the OS:

Contact Us

If you have additional questions regarding AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, or any other Linux distribution, Liquid Web experts are ready to help. Contact our 24-hour Sales team for assistance.

Avatar for Ronald Caldwell

About the Author: Ronald Caldwell

Ron is a Technical Writer at Liquid Web working with the Marketing team. He has 9+ years of experience in Technology. He obtained an Associate of Science in Computer Science from Prairie State College in 2015. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart and lives in Michigan with her and their children.

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