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 isn’t ultimate from a reliability standpoint as it doesn’t have a hard and fast replace release schedule. Nevertheless, shortly after Pink Hat declared the discontinuation of CentOS, two comparable distributions have been introduced: Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux. These two distributions have develop into fashionable amongst CentOS users.

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. Both distributions even have a difference in funding. Examine these newer distributions to determine which OS is greatest in your firm.

Plans to beat the RHEL source limitation

IBM acquired Pink Hat in 2019. In June 2023, Pink Hat/IBM decided to make the source for RHEL personal, which makes it a challenge for Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux to remain 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 aim was to create a free Linux distribution that is 1-to-1 binary suitable with RHEL. He created Rocky Linux to select up where 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 stay 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 aim is to be Software Binary Interface-suitable with RHEL. To accomplish this, AlmaLinux plans to use CentOS Stream source code that Pink Hat continues to make out there.

The similarities between Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

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

Each 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 additionally use firewalld, iptables and SELinux as their main safety mechanisms.

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

Each distributions embrace the next repositories, enabled by default:

  • BaseOS: The core set of software program 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’re additionally just like container and cloud deployments. Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux are suited to take on any use case RHEL can be used for.

The key differences between Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

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

One difference is found inside the realm of security. Although both embrace Secure Boot, SELinux and lots of comparable advanced features in RHEL, AlmaLinux provides a give attention to the Middle for Web Security Benchmark.

Beyond that, funding is totally different for each distribution and might be the deciding factor for a corporation to decide on one over the opposite.

AlmaLinux is pushed by a nonprofit. CloudLinux and different sponsors, like WebPros and Black Host, grant AlmaLinux a $1 million annual sponsorship to guarantee the distribution will continue and all the time be free. Cloud Linux has been round since 2009. This set quantity of funding per yr and longevity of CloudLinux assures users 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 more funds are wanted sooner or later. CIQ was founded in 2020. Rocky Linux prospects could be deterred from the distribution if they do not need to take a chance with a more moderen company sponsoring Rocky Linux.

Nevertheless, that isn’t to low cost Rocky Linux. CIQ could be a newcomer, but 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 should proceed to develop. With Kurtzer’s dedication to enhancing what he did with CentOS, users might be sure he is committed to the group.


Based on Google Developments, AlmaLinux has been the extra common selection since round July 2020. The development continues as AlmaLinux sees more interest over time and a larger subregion breakdown within america. And in case 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 way more correct listing of how every 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 author and avid promoter/consumer of the Linux OS.

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