Rocky Linux vs. AlmaLinux: Which is best?

Pink Hat’s alternative of CentOS with CentOS Stream has upset corporations that rely upon Linux as their server OS.

CentOS Stream is a rolling launch OS, which suggests it is not ultimate from a reliability standpoint because it does not have a hard and fast replace release schedule. Nevertheless, shortly after Purple Hat declared the discontinuation of CentOS, two comparable distributions have been introduced: Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux. These two distributions have turn out to be common among CentOS customers.

Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux have comparable use instances and help the identical architectures. Nevertheless, Rocky Linux is a 1-to-1 binary to RHEL while AlmaLinux is Software Binary Interface-suitable with RHEL. Each distributions also have a distinction in funding. Examine these newer distributions to determine which OS is greatest on your firm.

Plans to overcome the RHEL supply limitation

IBM acquired Purple Hat in 2019. In June 2023, Pink Hat/IBM determined to make the supply for RHEL personal, which makes it a challenge for Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux to stay 1-to-1 suitable with RHEL. To this end, each distributions have taken totally different paths.

Rocky Linux’s path

Gregory Kurtzer is the creator of CentOS and Rocky Linux. Starting with CentOS, Kurtzer’s objective was to create a free Linux distribution that is 1-to-1 binary suitable with RHEL. He created Rocky Linux to select up the place CentOS left off.

Rocky Linux has opted to retain the 1-to-1 compatibility by means of public cloud situations and Universal Base Pictures which might be based mostly on RHEL.

AlmaLinux’s path

AlmaLinux is the product of CloudLinux. AlmaLinux is group-driven and targeted primarily as an enterprise-grade Linux distribution. Like Rocky Linux, the aim of AlmaLinux is to remain 1-to-1 binary suitable with RHEL.

Nevertheless, AlmaLinux has opted to drop its aim to stay 1-to-1 binary suitable with RHEL. As an alternative, AlmaLinux’s new objective is to be Software Binary Interface-suitable with RHEL. To perform this, AlmaLinux plans to use CentOS Stream supply code that Purple Hat continues to make out there.

The similarities between Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

On the surface, Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux are comparable. Their lifecycle is 10 years, they’re targeted as production-grade, enterprise OSes, help is around eight years for each and updates are common — with a one-enterprise-day lag from RHEL.

Both distributions use the Purple-hat Package deal Supervisor and Dandified Yum package deal supervisor. Managing purposes in Rocky Linux or AlmaLinux is just like RHEL. These distributions also use firewalld, iptables and SELinux as their main security mechanisms.

One other similarity is that Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux help the same architectures: x86_ 64, aarch64, ppc64le and s390x.

Both distributions embrace the following repositories, enabled by default:

  • BaseOS: The core set of software packages for performance.
  • AppStream: Further consumer area purposes, runtime languages and databases.
  • Extras: Packages that aren’t out there in RHEL.

For installations with a GUI, Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux default to the GNU Community Object Model Setting.

AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux share comparable uses. Both work for enterprise-grade servers, corresponding to net and database servers. They are also just like container and cloud deployments. Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux are suited to take on any use case RHEL can be used for.

The important thing differences between Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

The variations between Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux aren’t straightforward to spot, which is a product of each distributions being based mostly on RHEL.

One difference is discovered inside the realm of safety. Though both embrace Secure Boot, SELinux and lots of comparable superior options in RHEL, AlmaLinux adds a concentrate on the Middle for Web Security Benchmark.

Past that, funding is totally different for every distribution and could possibly be the deciding factor for a corporation to choose one over the other.

AlmaLinux is driven by a nonprofit. CloudLinux and different sponsors, like WebPros and Black Host, grant AlmaLinux a $1 million annual sponsorship to ensure the distribution will continue and all the time be free. Cloud Linux has been round since 2009. This set amount of funding per yr and longevity of CloudLinux assures customers that AlmaLinux will all the time have funding for updates.

Rocky Linux is group driven. In 2022, Ctrl IQ (CIQ), the founding sponsor and service supplier of Rocky Linux, gave $26 million in funds to the distribution. This can be a one-time fund to Rocky Linux, which suggests extra funds are needed sooner or later. CIQ was founded in 2020. Rocky Linux prospects could be deterred from the distribution if they do not need to take an opportunity with a more moderen company sponsoring Rocky Linux.

Nevertheless, that isn’t to discount Rocky Linux. CIQ could be a newcomer, however they’ve grown quick and have an impressive popularity inside the world of know-how. Kurtzer has an enormous built-in fan base because of CentOS, so the Rocky Linux group ought to proceed to develop. With Kurtzer’s dedication to enhancing what he did with CentOS, users could be sure he is dedicated to the group.


In response to Google Developments, AlmaLinux has been the more in style selection since round July 2020. The development continues as AlmaLinux sees extra interest over time and a bigger subregion breakdown inside america. And when you examine the 2 on a worldwide scale, the distinction is much more dramatic. Nevertheless, in case you take a look at one other metric report — which focuses on precise usage — you will see a much more correct itemizing of how each RHEL-based mostly OS tendencies.

Whichever you decide, AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux will serve as proper replacements for CentOS or RHEL. In case you are not sure, then obtain both, set up them and see which one matches your needs the most effective.

Jack Wallen is an award-profitable writer and avid promoter/consumer of the Linux OS.

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