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RHEL Clone and CentOS Replacement Releases Rocky Linux 8.6

Rocky Linux, a Linux distribution intended to be a drop in replacement for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has released version 8.6, which puts it on par with the latest and greatest from Red Hat.

Rocky Linux logo
Copyright © 2020 The Rocky Linux Foundation

Rocky Linux, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone and legacy CentOS replacement, announced on Tuesday the release of Rocky Linux 8.6. The release comes five days after the release of AlmaLinux 8.6 and about a week after the release of RHEL 8.6 at last week’s Red Hat Summit in Boston.

Rocky and Alma are both vying for dominance in the space abandoned by Red Hat at the end of 2021, when the open source giant quit supporting CentOS as a downstream clone of RHEL and repurposed the brand to sit upstream of Red Hat’s flagship distro, where it essentially serves as RHEL’s nightly build. CentOS was being widely used by enterprises as a way of running RHEL without having to pay for Red Hat support, which created a need for a CentOS replacement.

What distro are you using to replace CentOS?

  • AlmaLinux (52%, 103 Votes)
  • Rocky Linux (27%, 53 Votes)
  • I don't use CentOS (6%, 12 Votes)
  • RHEL (6%, 11 Votes)
  • Something else (4%, 7 Votes)
  • EuroLinux (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Oracle Linux (2%, 4 Votes)
  • openSUSE Leap (2%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 197

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“We are grateful to the many Rocky Linux project volunteers and leaders for producing, testing, and documenting this release, as well as our sponsors and partners who provide the resources to build, test, and produce Rocky,” the company said in its announcement of the release.

The announcement added that users of Rocky Linux 8 can upgrade by running the command dnf update, and that users of other RHEL 8-based distros can upgrade using the migrate2rocky conversion script. Those wishing to migrate from versions of RHEL-based distros earlier than RHEL 8 will need to use ELevate, which is available from AlmaLinux.

Like AlmaLinux, Rocky contains all of the new feature and improvements found in RHEL 8.6, including the availability of PHP 8.0 and Perl 5.32, updated compiler toolsets, and new system roles. A complete look at what’s new or has changed in this release is available in Rocky Linux’s documentation.

Although Rocky Linux supports both x86 and Arm architectures, it doesn’t yet support the two other architectures supported by RHEL — Power and IBM Z systems. AlmaLinux 8.6 has support for Power, and AlmaLinux 9 (which is currently available beta) adds support for IBM Z, which will put it on parity with RHEL when it’s officially released.

Rocky Linux bills itself as a community distro, but the reality is a little murkier. The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation is a Public Benefit Corporation owned by Gregory Kurtzer, the project’s founder, but “backed by an advisory board of trusted individuals and team leads from the Rocky Linux community.”

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