TL; DR: AlmaLinux is one of the safest places for CentOS users to land after Red Hat discontinued the operating system. CloudLinux built AlmaLinux from scratch to replace CentOS and plans to offer it for free, funding the project through at least 2029. AlmaLinux, which has a governing board made up of members of the community, is poised to deliver a robust, open-source operating system. And CloudLinux sees AlmaLinux as a way to thank its loyal customers and community.
CloudLinux built a beta version of the successor to CentOS, a software focused on an open-source ecosystem built around Linux, in about a month. AlmaLinux, named after the Spanish word for soul, is meant to be where the heart of CentOS lives.
Jim Jackson, the President and CRO of CloudLinux, , said the name AlmaLinux came to him in a dream. Jim said he speaks fluent English and Spanish and often dreams in both languages.
“We were tossing around all these names, and one night I actually had a dream about all this,” Jim said. “Alma means soul in Spanish. So, we talked about it the next day, and we all agreed, on Christmas Day, that was the name.”
CloudLinux works with over 4,000 hosting customers and partners, powering more than 20 million websites. It has a decade of experience delivering stability and profitability for those who run Linux servers. So when it became clear that CentOS would no longer be supported, the CloudLinux team was the right one to provide the solution.
We’ve had CloudLinux OS for over 10 years now, and it’s a RHEL fork with some secret sauce added specifically for web hosters: lightweight virtual environments, hardened PHP for security, and those types of things,” Jim said.
CloudLinux also decided that the solution should be free and open-source for users. It will fund the project until at least 2029. AlmaLinux is not only the most logical OS to replace CentOS, but it also built the platform with the Linux community in mind.
“The more we talked about it, the more it became apparent that this was our way of giving back to the Linux community,” Jim said, “We have a lot of customers who are on CentOS in both hosting and enterprise, and we don’t want to leave them in the lurch.”
AlmaLinux is a free Linux OS that serves hosting providers and developers looking for a free option or a replacement for CentOS. The OS will be run by a board of directors who have previous experience in nonprofits.
In an industry full of companies focused on the bottom line, CloudLinux is giving AlmaLinux away for free and is committed to running it that way until at least 2029.
CloudLinux Quickly Took the Solution From Idea to Beta
One of the strongest arguments that CloudLinux has made for being the successor of CentOS is that it developed the idea into beta in about a month. Red Hat announced in December 2020 that it would no longer support CentOS, and by February 2021, CloudLinux launched the first beta of AlmaLinux.
“We dropped the Beta on February 1, and I think we’ll be at a full stable release in March,” Jim said. “It’s been a quick turnaround, but it was the right team, and we had the right setup for it.”
That quick turnaround is due to the CloudLinux team’s deep expertise in the field. There were already plenty of similarities between the CloudLinux OS and CentOS. That made the process of springing into action much faster.
“At the end of the day, CloudLinux OS is more than 95% the same as RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) or CentOS,” Jim said. “We’ve been maintaining that for all this time from version 5 to version 8. And all of that expertise allowed us to launch our extended life cycle support services for CentOS, which we launched for CentOS 6 in October of last year.”
It’s rare for a development team to create a stable product in a month, but it helped that the team at CloudLinux had the bits, infrastructure, and expertise in place to accomplish that feat.
The Safest Place for CentOS Users to Land
Any hosting provider or developer can use AlmaLinux, not just those running CentOS users. It was built in direct response to the discontinuing of CentOS, so it has built-in systems to make the difficult transition as easy as possible for CentOS users.
“If you’re running CentOS today, you can switch to AlmaLinux with a single command. There’s no install. There’s no reboot. It’s going to be that easy to switch and forever free,” Jim said. “TechRepublic wrote something like, ‘The heart of CentOS lives on in AlmaLinux.’ So that’s what we want it to be.”
The team at AlmaLinux has been working in the CloudLinux field for more than 10 years and understands the ins and outs of the product they maintain. That is CloudLinux’s wheelhouse, so it’s a natural fit for AlmaLinux to serve the community by building a replacement.
AlmaLinux is also a nonprofit run by a separate board of directors, which means that this isn’t going to be another bait-and-switch. In a world of uncertainties, users know that AlmaLinux is a fully funded, free, and open-source Linux OS for the next decade — which is practically unheard of. The success of CloudLinux allows it to create stability for AlmaLinux that a smaller or younger company couldn’t achieve.
Built for Communities and Funded Until 2029
AlmaLinux is built on the idea of giving back to the Linux community. Linux users have always been active volunteers and supportive of their peers, and CloudLinux aims to reciprocate in the way AlmaLinux is built and runs.
“After what’s transpired, some people are leery of open-source, so we want everything to be entirely transparent and separated from our commercial business,” Jim said.
Transparency and generosity are at the heart of AlmaLinux’s mission. It was built as a direct response to a community need, and its name reflects its desire to serve the Linux community’s best interests. When CentOS was discontinued, CloudLinux felt a responsibility to the community to solve a problem that it was particularly suited to address.
“Overnight we had over 100 calls from people saying that we needed to do something,” Jim said. “We talked, and we realized that we were the right people to do it, and we could do it.”
The urgency of the build and the plan to offer all of it for free were direct answers to a real need. CloudLinux won’t make a single dollar from the build, and it will give $1 million to it every year.
In a bottom-line-driven industry, CloudLinux chooses to act altruistically instead of baiting and switching users. CloudLinux realizes that its success is due to the generosity and loyalty of the Linux community, and it returns that with AlmaLinux.