After the beta release of the code in February, AlmaLinux OS received extensive testing from the community to meet user expectations of reliability and performance. Igor Seletskiy, CEO of CloudLinux, announced AlmaLinux’s first stable release with a live event on 30 March 2021.
Nonprofit organization for developing the project
The company also announced a nonprofit organization that will take over responsibility for managing the AlmaLinux project going forward. Five members of the governing board were announced: Jack Aboutboul, community manager of AlmaLinux; Jesse Asklund, global head of customer experience for WebPros at cPanel; Simon Phipps, open-source advocate and a former president of the Open Source Initiative; Igor Seletskiy, CEO of CloudLinux; and Eugene Zamriy, director of release engineering at CloudLinux. The AlmaLinux community will select two additional governing board members for the 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. The board will manage, promote and continuously improve AlmaLinux for the benefit of its user community.
Building a community around the project
After AlmaLinux Community Manager’s welcome speech, the live event continued with an interview with the CEO of CloudLinux Igor Seletskiy. Then the attendees had the opportunity to discuss technical issues with AlmaLinux OS engineers and partners. CloudLinux released ISO images, BaseOS, AppStream, PowerTools and HighAvailability repository, as well as Errata. On Github, users can find migration scripts, mirrors, cloud images, ansible collection, docker images.
Igor Seletskiy, CEO of CloudLinux, said,
“The main goal is to become a stable, reliable, and maintained distribution of general-purpose computing and to empower the community around the project.
The core team consists of 5 developers, but they involved colleagues from other CloudLinux departments and the community for helping the core team with various testing and development tasks.
Aside from the technical part, Eugene Zamriy, Director of Release Engineering, talked about the development phase of AlmaLinux, saying,
“7000 packages and 75 modules were built. About 280 packages were debranded, specially patched for the AlmaLinux OS, or were missing in upstream repositories.”
“AlmaLinux is the most logical next step for cPanel. They have a great relationship with CloudLinux,” according to Jesse Asklund, global head of customer experience, cPanel/WebPros&AlmaLinux Board Member.
Simon Phipps said,
“The sudden shift in direction for CentOS that was announced in December created a big void for millions of CentOS users. As a drop-in open source replacement, AlmaLinux provides those users with continuity and new opportunity to be part of a vibrant community built around creating and supporting this new Linux distribution under nonprofit governance. I give a lot of credit to CloudLinux for stepping in to offer CentOS users a lifeline to continue with AlmaLinux.”
Filling the gap of CentOS
CloudLinux is an established company with a significant footprint in the market. Red Hat announced that CentOS would no longer be issued as a stable release in December 2020. AlmaLinux is developed for filling the gap left by the demise of the CentOS stable release as an open-source, community-driven project. This open-source project is a 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8. AlmaLinux is built by the creators of the established CloudLinux OS.
After committing $1 million annual sponsorship by CloudLinux, the company will establish the nonprofit “AlmaLinux OS Foundation” with a governing board. The next step is the involvement of the community in all the production stages. The final step for empowering the community is public disclosure of AlmaLinux tooling and build processes.
Plans for AlmaLinux
CloudLinux plans to add UEFI Secure Boot and ARM64 architecture support. AlmaLinux images for all popular cloud hosting platforms, AWS, Equinix Metal, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack will be ready soon. One of the plans is the cooperation with hardware and software vendors to make AlmaLinux certified and recommended distribution for their products. Also, to create an open-source testing toolchain for AlmaLinux, generating OVAL data for OpenSCAP and other security tools is on the way.
The history of AlmaLinux
Shortly after Red Hat announced shifting its focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream, CloudLinux introduced its CentOS replacement, Project Lenix. It is a 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8, and it is built by the creators of the established CloudLinux OS. The company also announced a $1 million annual sponsorship to its standalone, completely free OS. Project Lenix was rebranded as AlmaLinux in 2021 January. After the beta release of AlmaLinux in February, CloudLinux published its first stable release on 30 March 2021.
The CentOS alternative will have support at least 2029. It will get CIS and FIPS certifications to run in a secure environment. In addition to the support of cPanel & WHM version 94 for AlmaLinux, the majority of vendors are expected to offer support for AlmaLinux by early Q2 of 2021.
What does Alma mean?
Alma means soul in Spanish and other Latin languages. The word Alma comes from the Latin word almus, which means “nourishing, kind”. The company preferred to use this word, as it symbolizes the Linux community, which is the soul of Linux, as CEO of CloudLinux, Igor Seletskiy, said in an interview with Cloud7.news. It was a very fitting name for community distribution.
CloudLinux also launched AlmaLinux shop that sells AlmaLinux OS branded gear for saving penguins and other cute animals from extinction. Users can enjoy shopping for clothes, accessories, and cases as members of the AlmaLinux community while donating cute animals.
The new operating system is released in a stable version and is ready for production workloads. You can download the AlmaLinux releases here. You can also Download AlmaLinux 8.3 here.