Users can download now for on-premises and edge installations. Images for AWS, Azure, GCP and other clouds will be available soon.
Less than 48 hours after the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.5, developers at the RHEL clone, AlmaLinux, pushed their own 8.5 version out the door. This means there’s already a drop in replacement for Red Hat’s latest and greatest, ready for production use without a subscription from Red Hat or anyone else.
That quick turnaround is important. CentOS 8 is about to enter its eleventh hour, after which it turns into vaporware. On the last click of the second hand in 2021, it loses all support from Red Hat.
With several other projects vying for the space being vacated by CentOS, a demonstration that AlmaLinux has the technical moxie for a quick turn around after a new RHEL release sends a message to enterprises that are running hundreds of thousands of CentOS servers in production and are still deciding on what they’ll use as a CentOS replacement.
The quick turn around also isn’t surprising. The project was initiated by CloudLinux, which for years has been marketing a commercial Linux distro to the hosting industry that’s traditionally been based on CentOS in much the same way that CentOS had been based on RHEL, meaning CloudLinux already had the technology in place to create a CentOS replacement directly from Red Hat’s flagship operating system.
“The AlmaLinux community is highly motivated to deliver stable releases in sync with the RHEL release timeline to promote stability and continuity for those managing production workloads on AlmaLinux,” Jack Aboutboul, community manager for AlmaLinux, said in a statement. “As CentOS Linux comes to end of life this year, we aim to deliver the same high degree of quality, robustness, and timeliness end users would expect from a CentOS successor to provide a free and reliable, enterprise-grade Linux alternative.”
Because it’s basically a clone of RHEL 8.5, the new release from AlmaLinux naturally includes the same enhancements as Red Hat’s new release. These include improvements to container management tools, several new module streams, enhancements and additions to System Roles, an enhanced Cockpit web console, support for OpenJDK 17, additional security features for personal access tokens, and network time security for Network Time Protocol.
Since the distro’s first release in March, AlmaLinux developers have also added a wide range of new features in response to end user requests. These include cloud images for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and other clouds, as well as a full Red Hat UBI-equivalent set of containers. In addition, live images for desktop users are available, with GNOME, KDE and XFCE desktop spins, along with and a Raspberry Pi Image.
A Center for Internet Security Benchmark is also available, to help administrators harden their installations.
AlmaLinux 8.5 supports both x86_64 and aarch64 architectures, and will run on Raspberry Pi.
On-premises and edge location users can download AlmaLinux now, and the organization says that updated images on AWS, Azure, GCP and Docker Hub will soon be available.
The AlmaLinux Foundation’s ELevate project, announced in October at this year’s All Things Open conference, simplifies migration between major versions of RHEL-based distributions from 7.x to the 8.x versions of any RHEL-based distro — easing the migration path from CentOS 7 to the 8.x versions of any of the distributions with their hats in the CentOS replacement ring.