AlmaLinux will be the system that replaces CentOS at CERN


CERN is confident that AlmaLinux is up to the task of being the replacement for CentOS

Recently the news was released that the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN, in Switzerland) and Enrico Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (fermilab, in the US), who at one point developed the Scientific Linux distribution, but later switched to CentOS, announced the choice of AlmaLinux as a regular distribution to accompany the experiments.

Decision was taken due to a change in Red Hat policy regarding the maintenance of CentOS and the premature removal of support for the CentOS 8 branch, the update release of which was discontinued at the end of 2021, and not in 2029.

You have to remember that two years ago (precisely on December 8, 2020), IBM's Red Hat announced the discontinuation of CentOS, a free version of RHEL, or rather CentOS as we knew it. Which at the time caused a great controversy in the entire community and which led to Gregory Kurtzer, the founder of the CentOS project, later working on and releasing what we now know as the successor to CentOS, "RockyLinux" a RHEL clone.

The distribution has proven to be perfectly compatible with the other rebuilds and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Around the same time, CloudLinux, which offers its own commercial distribution of the CloudLinux operating system, announced that it would fork RHEL into a distribution initially called Project Lenix that is now known as AlmaLinux.

The AlmaLinux distribution is founded by CloudLinux, which has ten years of experience building builds based on RHEL source packages, a ready infrastructure, and a large staff of developers and maintainers.

CloudLinux provided resources for AlmaLinux development and moved the project under the wing of a separate non-profit organization AlmaLinux OS Foundation for development on a neutral platform with community participation.

Project management uses a model similar to Fedora's work organization. The distribution is developed according to the principles of classic CentOS, formed through a rebuild of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux package base, and retains full binary compatibility with RHEL. The product is free for all categories of users, and all AlmaLinux developments are released under free licenses.

In their statement they share the following:

CERN and Fermilab jointly plan to provide AlmaLinux as the standard distribution for experiments at our facilities, reflecting recent experience and discussions with experiments and other stakeholders.

Commenting on the choice, interested parties write: 

“Alma Linux has recently gained prominence in the community due to its long lifecycle for each major release, extended architecture support, rapid release cycle, upstream community contributions, and support for security advisory metadata. Testing it has shown it to be perfectly compatible with the other rebuilds and Red Hat Enterprise Linux."

CERN and, to a lesser extent, Fermilab, will also use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for some services and applications within the respective labs. Scientific Linux 7, at Fermilab, and CERN CentOS 7, at CERN, will continue to be supported for the rest of their lives, until June 2024.

Regarding AlmaLinux, it should be noted that during testing, the AlmaLinux distribution showed excellent compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other builds.

Among the advantages that stand out from the distribution is also mentioned the fast release of updates, a long support period, the possibility of community participation in development, expanded support for hardware architectures and the provision of metadata about the vulnerabilities that are fixed.

Besides that, it is mentioned that the systems already implemented at CERN and Fermilab based on Scientific Linux 7 and CentOS 7 will continue to be supported until the end of the life cycle of these distributions in June 2024. CERN and Fermilab will also continue to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux for some of their services and projects.

Finally, if you are interested in knowing more about it, you can consult the details In the following link.

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