First Stable Beta of RHEL Alternative Rocky Linux Comes Out

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation has released the first version of Rocky Linux 8.3. That distro should become an alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, after Red Hat stopped developing CentOS last year.

The developers have announced that the first stable beta of Rocky Linux 8.3 is out. It concerns Release Candidate 1 which is suitable for x86_64 and for aarch64 architectures. The makers warn that the beta is not yet suitable for production. Earlier, the makers said they wanted to release their first release somewhere between March and May. Rocky Linux’s BaseOS is now available for download.

Rocky Linux is an alternative to CentOS. Developer Red Hat stopped rebuilding RHEL in December when the team wanted to focus solely on CentOS Stream. RHEL is now available for various customers, but that is not enough for many developers. Rocky Linux needs to fill that gap; its makers call it an operating system that is “one hundred percent bug-for-bug compatible” with CentOS.

The distro is therefore going to release releases in the same way that CentOS did. That’s like a ‘downstream build’, where patches and updates are only rolled out after a distributor has done so. That’s different from CentOS Stream, the new way of working in which it works as RHEL’s upstream development platform and thus experiments with updates before they come in RHEL’s stable releases. Rocky is not the only alternative to RHEL: AlmaLinux OS from Cloudlinux was already released earlier, which did the same.

One of the main developers of the operating system is Gregory Kurtzer, the founder of CentOS. The project is further supported by Amazon Web Services and GitLab, among others.

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