Rocky Linux becomes the last of the major RHEL clones to catch up with Red Hat’s latest and greatest. Here’s what you should know.
Nearly two weeks after the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.3, Rocky Linux 9.3 is now generally available. With AlmaLinux 9.3 being released on November 13 and Oracle Linux 9.3 on November 14, this means all of the major free RHEL clones are up-to-date with Red Hat’s mother ship.
This has been an interesting release period for all of the distros that advertise themselves as drop-in replacements for Red Hat’s Linux distribution. That’s because since RHEL 9.2 was released in May, Red Hat has been working overtime to make it difficult for clones to copy its code.
Working overtime doesn’t mean they’ve been successful, however. The IBM owned company’s efforts to make its code hard to get has actually had the opposite effect, especially after the move prompted SUSE, Rocky’s owner CIQ, and Oracle to team up and form the Open Enterprise Linux Association, an organization tasked with mining RHEL source code to make it freely available to anyone who wants it.
Because of this, both Oracle Linux’s and Rocky Linux’s 9.3 editions continue to be pretty much forks of RHEL (although Oracle does offer an optional “unbreakable” kernel). AlmaLinux decided to take a different approach, by offering a distribution that walks and quacks exactly like RHEL’s latest and greatest, even though most of its code originated in CentOS Stream, which these days is RHEL’s upstream. All three distros claim that if you replace RHEL with their distro, you basically won’t notice a difference.
What’s Ready and What’s Not
For those who run Rocky Linux on their own metal, the new Rocky is ready to go, and supports the x86-64, aarch64, ppc64le, and s390x architectures. Images for Microsoft’s Azure cloud aren’t ready yet, but are on the way.
“Azure images for Rocky Linux 9.3 will be published under a new publisher name: resf, instead of the previous long, unreadable name,” the company said in the release notice it issued on Monday. “These images are not published yet, but should be available by the end of the week.”
The new release also ships with KDE Plasma 9.2 instead of the current 9.3, due to problems that arose during testing. This is only temporary: “until we can build and provide a working image.”
Also, this new release sees the return of cloud and container images for ppc64le, which were missing in Rocky Linux 9.2 because of problems with QEMU.
“These images may be divergent from the other architecture’s images in some small ways,” the Rocky team said, “but we will work to reduce this delta in future releases of the images.”
A complete list of new features and changes is available in the Rocky Linux 9.3 Release Notes.
Upgrade or Install Info
Current users of Rocky Linux 9 can upgrade to 9.3 from the terminal using
dnf update, or graphically from the desktop using GNOME Software, KDE Discover, etc. Users of other Enterprise Linux 9 distributions can upgrade and convert to Rocky Linux 9.3 via the
migrate2rocky conversion script.
For a new install, go to the Rocky Linux download page, click the proper download option under Rocky 9. and you will be presented the links for downloading and installing Rocky Linux 9.3.
The Rocky Linux 9.x series will be supported until May 31, 3032.