What is AlmaLinux? It is an open source 1:1 binary compatible fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The AlmaLinux foundation was founded by CloudLinux, which invested $1 million. They wanted to provide a long-term stable operating system (OS) version. AlmaLinux was first released in March of 2021 and has recently released another stable version, AlmaLinux 8.5.
Why is AlmaLinux Important?
Users were very unhappy when CentOS announced they would no longer continue creating a stable operating system and instead move to a rolling release operating system via CentOS Stream. As a result, the Linux community rallied around finding a viable replacement for CentOS, spawning a number of options, including Rocky Linux.
CloudLinux decided to make its own open source operating system called AlmaLinux. This CentOS replacement offers a community-operated and governed operating system. In addition, AlmaLinux gives Linux users a license-free upgrade path compatible with the pre-CentOS Stream stable versions.
Advantages of AlmaLinux
Here are the advantages of AlmaLinux for those considering whether to use it as a CentOS replacement:
- Its governance is public, which means you will have a high level of transparency with the OS.
- AlmaLinux publishes their release notes and source code, so people can easily develop updates and compatibilities of their own.
- It has major buy-in and backing from many of the same third-party apps that CentOS had previously.
- It is a stable operating system with financial backing from CloudLinux’s sponsorship.
- The AlmaLinux web page offers how-to guides for necessary information such as installing different pieces of software on AlmaLinux.
- It has an available migration tool to migrate to AlmaLinux OS and provides users with the source code.
Disadvantages of AlmaLinux
There are some potential disadvantages of AlmaLinux, such as:
- AlmaLinux is new and hasn’t developed a long and solid reputation yet. Within the Linux community, your project reputation determines the extent to which your software is used.
- It has to compete against Rocky Linux as the preferred CentOS replacement.
- AlmaLinux is not compatible with all third-party apps quite yet.
AlmaLinux as a CentOS Replacement
When CentOS announced they would stop their stable releases and only offer CentOS Stream as a rolling release, the Linux community was up in arms over the news. At the end of 2021, CentOS transitioned all of its stable version releases to CentOS Stream. AlmaLinux became readily available for that deadline for the Linux community users that wanted to move away from CentOS to an alternative but similar OS.
As AlmaLinux continues to be a popular replacement for CentOS, you will presumably hear mentions of Rocky Linux as well. Rocky and Alma are Linux distributions in competition to replace CentOS stable versions.
The founder of CentOS, Gregory Kurtzer, discovered that many people were frustrated with the changes happening at CentOS. He decided to create a stable open source OS called Rocky Linux, similar to AlmaLinux.
Who is AlmaLinux For?
More importantly than what is AlmaLinux is who should use it. AlmaLinux is for:
- Anyone who wants to migrate to something similar to CentOS stable versions.
- Business owners who want a sound operating system backed by a reputable Linux developer such as CloudLinux should consider AlmaLinux.
- Users looking to lower their costs and not have to pay for REHL licensing.
- Users looking for 24/7 access to support for their operating system.
This article walks through what is AlmaLinux. Although it is a younger operating system, it’s already creating a positive reputation for providing the old CentOS feel that system administrators loved so much. It aims to fulfill the needs of both the more technical savvy and the plug-and-play type of Linux users.
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