CentOS Replacement Distro AlmaLinux Gets Commercial Support Options | GeekComparison

Today CloudLinux Inc announced that it will provide commercial support for the AlmaLinux community distribution. The new support plans will be available next week and include regular patches and updates to AlmaLinux’s kernel and core packages, SLAs for patch delivery, and 24/7 incident support.

What is AlmaLinux?

AlmaLinux is one of several Linux distributions vying for position as “the new CentOS” in the wake of Red Hat’s depreciation of its own free Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone distribution in December 2020.

AlmaLinux was initially sponsored by CloudLinux Inc. and is based on its own commercial distribution of CloudLinux, but the company set up the new distribution specifically to be community owned and managed. Its qualifiers as “the new CentOS” come from the root on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source code.

RHEL is “free as in freedom” – meaning the source code is available and can be forked by other projects, such as CloudLinux itself and now AlmaLinux – but is not necessarily “free as in beer”, meaning many individuals and projects pay to acquire and use RHEL itself. In an increasing number of cases, certain developers and projects can use RHEL freely or semi-freely, but there is still a certain amount of red tape, bureaucracy and paperwork even when free use of RHEL is allowed.

CentOS Linux’s claim to fame was that it could are free, downloaded randomly and used by anyone for any purpose – and it was binary compatible with RHEL, meaning applications and projects designed specifically for RHEL and only RHEL can still be expected to work with CentOS. This is the vacant niche that AlmaLinux now wants to fill.

The AlmaLinux distribution offers a 10-year support cycle, as does the upstream distribution RHEL, which is also important for organizations and individuals in the market for RHEL-compatible distributions. The first stable release of AlmaLinux, codenamed “Purple Manul”, was launched on March 30.

What support does CloudLinux Inc. provide?

On first boot after an AlmaLinux installation, the user must accept a very short and powerful EULA, one that underscores the potential value of CloudLinux's paid commercial support offering.
enlarge On first boot after an AlmaLinux installation, the user must accept a very short and powerful EULA, one that underscores the potential value of CloudLinux’s paid commercial support offering.

Jim Salter

Several of the AlmaLinux support services offered by CloudLinux Inc. are technically already provided by the community distribution itself, e.g. “regular patches and updates for the Linux kernel and core packages”.

However, the AlmaLinux project is a community project, not a business. While the community provides these services de factoit does not offer commercial contracts guaranteeing the timely delivery or quality of those services with financial penalties for non-compliance.

CloudLinux, on the other hand, offers to accept money in exchange for these services on a commercially guaranteed basis – and it’s in a prime position to do so, as its own CloudLinux RHEL “clone” is the immediate upstream distribution of AlmaLinux and because the company already offers similar services for CloudLinux itself.

In addition to the timely delivery of patches and updates, CloudLinux Inc. service level agreements for the delivery of patches and 24/7 incident support. It also plans to introduce a “premium level of support for enterprises” that require comprehensive service and support, including but not limited to NodeOS support for AlmaLinux.

List image by Jim Salter

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