Presented distribution release Rocky Linux 9.3, aimed at creating a free build of RHEL that can take the place of the classic CentOS. The distribution is binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and can be used as a replacement for RHEL 9.3 and CentOS 9 Stream. The Rocky Linux 9 branch will be supported until May 31, 2032. Rocky Linux installation iso images prepared for x86_64, aarch64, ppc64le and s390x (IBM Z) architectures. Additionally offered live builds with GNOME and Xfce desktops published for x86_64 architecture (live build with KDE is delayed).
As in classic CentOS included in Rocky Linux packages changes boil down to getting rid of the connection to the Red Hat brand and removing RHEL-specific packages such as redhat-*, insights-client and subscription-manager-migration*. An overview of the list of changes in Rocky Linux 9.3 can be found in the RHEL 9.3 announcement. Among the changes specific to Rocky Linux, we can note the delivery in a separate repository plus packages openldap-servers-2.6.3, and in the repository NFV packages for virtualization of network components, developed by the SIG group NFV (Network Functions Virtualization). Rocky Linux also supports repositories CRB (Code Ready Builder with additional packages for developers, replaced PowerTools), RT (packages for real-time work), High Availability, ResilientStorage And SAPHANA (packages for SAP HANA).
Unlike previous releases, Rocky Linux 9.3 uses the OpenELA repository, maintained jointly with Oracle and SUSE, as a source of source packages. The change is due to Red Hat no longer posting the source code for RHEL rpm packages in the public repository git.centos.org. Thanks for reading packages are now provided to the company’s customers only through a closed section of the site, which has a user agreement (EULA) prohibiting the redistribution of data, which does not allow the use of these packages to create derivative distributions. The sources remain available in the CentOS Stream repository, but it is not completely synchronized with RHEL and the latest versions of packages do not always match the packages from RHEL.
The Rocky Linux distribution is being developed under the auspices of the organization Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF), which registered as a public benefit corporation (Public Benefits Corporation), not aimed at making a profit. Owner of the organization is Gregory Kurtzer is the founder of CentOS, but management functions in accordance with the adopted charter are delegated to a board of directors, to which the participants involved in the project are elected by the community. In parallel, to develop expanded products based on Rocky Linux and support the community of developers of this distribution, a commercial company, Ctrl IQ, was created, which received $26 million in investments. Companies such as Google, Amazon Web Services, GitLab, MontaVista, 45Drives, OpenDrives and NAVER Cloud joined the development and financing of the project.
In addition to Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux (developed by CloudLinux, together with the community), VzLinux (prepared by Virtuozzo), Oracle Linux, SUSE Liberty Linux and EuroLinux are also positioned as alternatives to the classic CentOS. In addition, Red Hat has made RHEL available for free to open source organizations and individual developer environments with up to 16 virtual or physical systems.
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