If you are a Linux-based OS fan, then you must have heard about the ongoing battle of AlmaLinux vs Rocky Linux by now. First, we need to cover some key topics before shedding the final light on this matter.
What Happened to CentOS?
CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is a free Linux distro that is a more advanced option than its former version, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The most annoying thing about RHEL is its support fees, so clients were happy to see CentOS on the market.
However, Linux fans will no longer get to enjoy CentOS 7 as it will cease to exist in 2024, giving its users less than one year to migrate to another operating system.
CentOS Linux would live on as CentOS Stream, which is mostly a platform for software testing and development. Many users are reluctant to use CentOS Stream because the platform is buggy and unstable compared to CentOs Linux. There is also CentOs EoL which is not the best replacement to the original CentOS. Learn more about it here.
However, the founder of the original CentOS, Gregory Kurtzer, had a plan in place to keep the CentOs fans happy if and when the Linux distro reached its end of life.
Before we get into the details of AlmaLinux vs Rocky Linux, let’s go back a little to see how and when Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux were created.
Introducing AlmaLinux 8.3 with a $1M Funding
AlmaLinux is another rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that came out on March 30, 2020. After the era of CentOS came to an end, the AlmaLinux vs rocky Linux debate was the buzzing topic among Linux-based OS users.
AlmaLinux is an open-source and forever-free operating system that could be the ultimate solution to CentOS’s demise. First came AlmaLinux 8.3, which reflects the RHEL version it is based on, RHEL 8.3. All CentOS users can transition to AlmaLinux without any software changes.
One important thing that catches the attention of every client who is trying to get an answer to the AlmaLinux vs rocky Linux question is the figure that AlmaLinux is to spend on its maintenance, $1M annually. This means that the whole team is determined to ensure the release of thoroughly tested updates and security patches regularly so that users can have the best AlmaLinux experience.
How long is the AlmaLinux Life Cycle?
AlmaLinux OS 8 is supported until 2029.
The Launch of Rocky Linux
In 2002, Gregory Kurtzer, with the help of Rocky McGaugh, developed CentOS, a new distribution based on RHEL. Sadly, Rocky did not get a chance to watch his creation’s success. So when the time came to say goodbye to CentOS, Kurtzer decided to name his next project after the cofounder of CentOS, and that’s how Rocky Linux was created.
Rocky Linux’s first release was on April 30, 2021. Rocky Linux is easy to install and is available for both x86_64 and ARM64 systems.
Rocky Linux Powerful Supporter; Google Cloud
When Rocky Linux was released in 2021, Google Cloud formed a partnership with The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF). As a result, whenever clients use Rocky Linux on Google Cloud, CIQ (the official founding support, services partner, and sponsor of Rocky Linux) and Google are the two almighty supporters in their corner.
All Rocky Linux users can benefit from Google Cloud’s support team’s expert guidance whenever they encounter any issues. Rocky Linux on Google Cloud is the best combination from a product and support viewpoint, and users don’t have to pay any additional fees.
The Rocky Linux vs AlmaLinux dilemma seems a bit easier to solve now, right? Don’t be hasty. There are still a lot of critical points to be discussed before making your final decision.
How long is the Rocky Linux Life Cycle?
Rocky Linux 8.4 and 8.5 are supported until May 2029.
AlmaLinux vs Rocky Linux; Pros & Cons
Choosing a winner between Alma or Rocky Linux can be challenging because they are very similar. The most significant factor that you should consider is to see the developers’ maintenance options for each Linux distro. Also, we have put together a comparison table so you can see which one of these Linux-based operating systems can meet your specific needs.
The difference between AlmaLinux and Rocky is mainly in how they are managed. For example, AlmaLinux developers release updates sooner and more frequently than the Rocky team. Besides, regarding stability, AlmaLinux wins every time.
AlmaLinux vs Rocky Linux; Desktop Environment
GNOME Desktop GUI is the default desktop environment in AlmaLinux. Fortunately, users can install KDE Plasma on AlmaLinux even if they have already installed a full Desktop version of GNOME. In fact, BSD, Solaris, Windows, and Mac OS X users can also use KDE Plasma.
GNOME is the default desktop environment in Rocky Linux 8. This section covers basic information about another desktop environment compatible with Rocky Linux, which is KDE Plasma. KDE (Kool Desktop Environment) Desktop Environment is open source, and it’s fairly easy to use. Perhaps that’s why many users prefer it to other desktop environments. KDE’s first version was released in 1998. In 2009, KDE’s desktop environment was named KDE Plasma.
If you are a new Linux user, KDE Plasma’s traditional panel makes it easy to enjoy web surfing, file managing, or any other specific activity. However, reaching a final decision about the Alma or Rocky Linux desktop environment depends on your specific requirements. Checking out these points might help you figure out which desktop environment is best suited for you; KDE or GNOME.
Advantages of KED:
- Free and easy to use.
- Open-source software.
- Come in multiple categories, including entertainment, education, graphics, and software development.
- It supports more than 60 languages.
- Compatible with desktop PCs and mobile devices.
Advantages of GNOME:
- Brilliant focus-mode
- Organized workspaces
- Hidden panel for user’s favorite apps
- Single overview function
- Search bar in overview mode
- Pre-loaded screenshot program
- GNOME Pomodoro (Start/Pause timer)
- Two-pane settings layout
Choosing a winner between Rocky Linux vs AlmaLinux based on their desktop environment is somewhat challenging because GNOME is the default desktop environment for both of them and they also support KDE Plasma.
Let’s see if we can reach a verdict in the next section.
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AlmaLinux vs Rocky Linux; Security
AlmaLinux OS comes with the CIS (Center for Internet Security) Benchmark. With CIS Benchmark, all users can configure their systems securely. There is even a tool called CIS-CAT that gives you a full report on all potential security issues.
CIS Benchmark is available for AlmaLinux 8.4 and 8.5 beta. Also, for those who like to exercise extreme caution, the OpenSCAP tool is a game-changer. This tool automatically checks your system for vulnerability.
The Rocky Linux 8.5 comes with the Network Time Security protocol for use with NTP and Secure Boot support.
In addition to security measures, here are some other brilliant features of Rocky Linux 8.5:
- Fastest Mirror DNF plugin
- Thunderbird with PGP support
- Raspberry Pi AArch64 support
- Enhanced Cockpit web console
- OpenJDK 17 support
It looks like AlmaLinux is leaps and bounds ahead of Rocky Linux regarding security.
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What is the difference between AlmaLinux and Rocky?
The main difference between the two Linux distros is how they are maintained. We’ve seen that AlmaLinux works much faster than Rocky in terms of updates. Besides, AlmaLinux is much more similar to CentOS than Rocky, so there’s that.
How to switch from CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux?
Just follow these easy steps, and you’re set.
- Run a system backup
- Apply pending CentOS updates
- Verify AlmaLinux
Check out this full guide for more information.
What is the main difference between CentOS and AlmaLinux?
Unlike CentOS, Red Hat does not own AlmaLinux. In fact, AlmaLinux has a superior advantage because it has the support of CloudLinux Inc, a company with ten years of experience and many powerful resources.
What are the differences between KDE and GNOME?
The KDE desktop provides users with a traditional yet highly functional desktop layout. On the other hand, GNOME has a modern and more attractive user interface design. You can customize both GNOME and KDE to meet your specific needs. Check out KDE vs. GNOME for more information.
Does Rocky Linux have bugs?
As Rocky Linux is a relatively new operating system, you might encounter some bugs every now and then. The good news is that Rocky Linux has a fantastic support team, so you can create an account on the Rocky Linux website and report bugs through the Bugzilla server.