CentOS replacement AlmaLinux 8.4 released


AlmaLinux, the Linux distribution designed to replace CentOS, released AlmaLinux 8.4 on Wednesday. This version is based on the recently released version of Red Hat Enterprise from last week and will be released approximately a month after the release of AlmaLinux 8.3, the first stable version of the distribution.

The distribution was conceived in December after Red Hat announced that CentOS Linux, a popular downstream copy of RHEL, would be replaced by CentOS Stream. Support for CentOS 8 is slated to end at the end of this year, while support for CentOS 7 will continue through June 30, 2024, the originally planned end of life.

Another Linux distribution meant to be a CentOS replacement, Rocky Linux is expected to have a stable version by mid-June.

The eight-day turnaround between the availability of RHEL 8.4 and this version shows how CloudLinux, the company behind AlmaLinux, makes a living by producing a hardened version of RHEL for its enterprise customers. It is noteworthy, however, that it has been four months between the release of RHEL 8 and CentOS 8 in 2019.

“Turning on the latest version 8.4 of AlmaLinux quickly is the result of a collaboration between a professional, experienced team that includes people with experience who have been doing this for a decade,” AlmaLinux Community Manager Jack Aboutboul told ITPro Today in an email. “The team is dedicated to this open source initiative and was fully prepared. They have started planning and working on the RHEL 8.4 beta and have done very well.”

Of the new functions in AlmaLinux 8.4, the full support of Secure Boot is particularly noteworthy. Secure Boot support requires input from Microsoft, which acts as a certification authority for Secure Boot (that is, they must sign programs to run), and the code must be verified for security reasons. Obviously, the AlmaLinux community has made acquiring Secure Boot support a priority.

“We knew Secure Boot was important to support business and real-world workloads in the data center with reasonable security and to ensure that booting went as expected,” said Aboutboul.

AlmaLinux 8.4 also includes support for OpenSCAP security profiles and a developer repository with packages and build dependencies not included in the upstream distribution.

Starting Friday May 28th, a beta version of AlmaLinux 8.4 for the ARM architecture will be available. More and more bare metal clouds are offering servers with ARM processors a premium over x86 machines.

“Today we released beta for servers running ARM processors. This is the result of a collaboration between the AlmaLinux community, ARM, Equinix, AWS and the Oregon State Open Source Lab,” said Aboutboul. “Our planned schedule for GA is in June – how soon depends on how the beta is going, of course.”

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