Finally away from CentOS 7: Distro upgrade made easy with AlmaLinux

Wherever there is a new RHEL version, the developers behind AlmaLinux are not far: AlmaLinux 9.2 is launched just one day after the release of RHEL 9.2. AlmaLinux is one of the two CentOS heirs alongside Rocky Linux. Like this one, AlmaLinux claims to produce a binary-compatible clone of Red Hat’s Linux distribution, just missing the RHEL-specific packages with content like Red Hat logos. For the new version 9.2, this means that there are updates primarily in the areas of security, tools for system administration and the Linux kernel.

Python version 3.11 contains a minor update that corrects some errors. Nginx is available in a revised version 1.22, PostgreSQL in version 15. The developers are also updating the tool chain for building the distribution: Here GCC 11.3.1, the GNU C library 2.34 and Binutils 2.35.2 form a team.

AlmaLinux takes its new kernel 5.14.0-284.11.1.el9_2 directly from RHEL. It still has version 5.14, but under the hood it should have almost more in common with a current Linux 6.0 than with its original version. Because Red Hat likes to equip the very old kernel with countless driver updates, from which AlmaLinux also benefits.

In addition to OpenSSL 3.0.7 and SELinux 3.5, AlmaLinux 9.2 also benefits from a number of security updates. The new version of OpenSCAP – the Open Security Content Automation Protocol – is the central tool for detecting programming errors and errors in the configuration of services. SCAP automatically detects these depending on its own configuration. In AlmaLinux 9.2 it is in the updated version 1.3.7. The appropriate set of rules, the SCAP Security Guide, is also being updated to version 0.1.66. AlmaLinux also inherits a number of Rsyslog security improvements. This can now establish TLS-encrypted connections based on multiple CA certificates and also runs with reduced rights in order to reduce its own attack surface.

In addition to the new distribution, the AlmaLinux developers are also providing a new, recently presented project: Project ELevate is intended to enable updates from RHEL clones from CentOS 7 to higher major releases – and not just for AlmaLinux itself. That’s how it should be thanks of the tool, it may be possible to first upgrade a CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8, EuroLinux 8, Oracle Linux 8 or Rocky Linux 8 before the update to the current major version 9 of the same RHEL clone is due. ELevate also offers an update to CentOS Stream as an option.

With version 9, however, ELevate currently only supports the update for AlmaLinux, EuroLinux and RockyLinux. The developers are working on support for the update to CentOS Stream 9, and Oracle offers its own tool for Oracle Linux 9. What this has in common with ELevate is that it relies heavily on Red Hat’s Leapp software under the hood, i.e. Red Hat’s own tool for updates beyond the limits of a major version. The ELevate developers have expanded this with their own library, which provides specific additional functions for the RHEL clones. The developers promise no less than real in-place updates: Existing systems do not need to be reinstalled and the data stored on them is retained.

AlmaLinux is available in package form on the project servers. If you are already running a system with version 9.1, you can install it via dnf upgrade -y. ISO packages for installing fresh systems are available on the project servers. A list of all mirror servers, which also contains the 16 German locations, can be found at

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