CentOS replacement Rocky Linux becomes a prime-time gamer
Rocky Linux, one of the new Linux distributions designed to be integrated replacements for Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone, CentOS, announced Monday that it is ready for prime time with its first stable release. The distribution begins life as version 8.4, following the CentOS convention of numbering itself after the RHEL version it replaces.
Project Rocky was announced in December by Gregory Kurtzer, the founder of CentOS, hours after Red Hat (which owns the CentOS brand since 2014) issued a statement saying it would stop supporting CentOS 8 upon completion. 2021, and that CentOS Linux was replaced by CentOS Stream, which would not be a free downstream RHEL clone, but would be placed upstream as a build platform for Red Hat’s flagship Linux operating system.
This created a potential problem for many companies, including Northrup Gruman, Comcast, Verizon, Master Card, Indeed, and others, who were using CentOS either to run production workloads or for test and development purposes. .
The first stable release of Rocky comes less than two weeks after the project announced the availability of its first candidate release.
“It’s six months into the making, with us pedaling to metal as fast as you can imagine, and all of a sudden it’s gotten to the point where we can actually give that to the world,” Kurtzer, now director of director Rocky, told DCK. “We are absolutely excited. We are delighted.”
He said Rocky can’t just be downloaded and installed on x86 and Arm hardware, it is also available to launch in the cloud: on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. A deal is also underway to include it on Microsoft Azure, but that’s in a week or two.
Rocky and AlmaLinux
AlmaLinux, another new RHEL downstream clone, from CloudLinux, released its first stable release almost three months ago, although it announced plans to create a replacement for CentOS after Kurtzer announced Rocky. This was made possible because CloudLinux’s eponymous flagship, a hardened security clone of RHEL, looks a lot like CentOS, meaning they already had the build infrastructure in place.
Leigh Hennig, Rocky’s COO, told us that unlike Rocky Linux, however, AlmaLinux is not “bug-for-bug compatible” with RHEL and CentOS.
“We know they took shortcuts to create certain things, so we’re actually more compatible with Red Hat, especially around the subscription manager,” he said. “Alma turned it off completely, so there are some things people are using and relying on about Subscription Manager that just aren’t available, and we have them available.”
Perhaps this is because AlmaLinux primarily tries to appeal to the target users of CloudLinux, the hosting providers who make up the bulk of its commercial Linux distribution customers. To meet the needs of web hosts, the company has supported cPanel and other applications widely used by the hosting industry in AlmaLinux.
UEFI Secure Boot is also supported in AlmaLinux, which is currently lacking in Rocky Linux.
Support for Secure Boot requires obtaining signing keys, which identify an operating system as trusted during the boot process, from Microsoft. Without Secure Boot support, users using equipment with UEFI firmware (pretty much everyone these days) will need to disable Secure Boot or set the firmware to “legacy boot” in order to install the system. operation. While this is fairly easy to do, some IT departments have policies against it.
Kurtzer and Hennig said support for secure boot is on the way and will be available soon.
AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux both developed scripts that users can run for easy upgrade from CentOS 8.
Rocky’s road ahead
When we first spoke with Kurtzer several months ago, he told us that the project plans to eventually expand the operating system beyond just filling CentOS ‘shoes as a replacement for RHEL, working with special interest groups to add package repositories to extend operating system capabilities in areas such as high performance computing, embedded, hyperscale and cloud, and desktop Linux.
Although not available in the current version, that is still the plan, he said.
“We haven’t started building this yet, just because we were so focused on stability and exiting the GA,” he said. “I foresee that it will probably take a day or two to organize ourselves and figure out which GIS are we going to start running on our own and which GIS are we going to ask the community to start running. We already have a commercial interest in things like an integrated GIS from a company called MontaVista, so we already have the interest at this point. “
“We should see a lot more as we go along,” he added. “Hopefully some GIS will start to be built and released, probably within a few months.”