AlmaLinux, the popular enterprise Linux distro, has just announced its 9.0 Beta release to keep up with the upstream, i.e. RHEL 9.

Just to give you some context, AlmaLinux was introduced in the early 2021 to replace the then recently discontinued CentOS. One of its main goals was to be a drop-in replacement for RHEL, specifically needing to be 100% binary compatible.

Not to forget, AlmaLinux is free, making it one of the best RHEL alternatives.

As to be expected with a stability-focused distro, it doesn’t have many new features. It does, however, have quite a few package updates, which we will be looking at here.

Let’s take a look!

What’s New?

As an RHEL clone, it inherits almost all the features of the RHEL 9.0 Beta.

Linux Kernel 5.14

Definitely, the largest upgrade, Linux Kernel 5.14 brings newer hardware support among a variety of other improvements. Although not particularly relevant to the target audience of AlmaLinux, it did include a hot-unplug feature for Radeon cards that I appreciate.

Other than that, it was a pretty minor release, with its biggest selling point perhaps being that it was released right after the 30th anniversary of Linux.

Improved SELinux Performance

SELinux has always resulted in a slight performance hit, as with all security measures. While this has been mostly minimal, it could always have been improved, which seems to have happened in this release.

As demonstrated in a Red Hat blog post, some of these performance improvements are quite significant. As can be seen, from the above graph, the performance of SELinux in Linux kernel 5.14 (blue) is significantly better than Linux kernel 5.6 (red) in the displayed metrics.

Overall, the performance has improved, to include the overhead (~30 MB to ~15 MB) and the file creation time (~55 ms to ~44 ms).

Updated Packages

This release comes with a boatload of package updates. Some of the more significant ones include Git 2.31, PHP 8.0, Perl 5.32, and MySQL 8.0. GCC has also been updated to its 11.2 release.

The result of all this should be better compatibility with more modern standards.

There were also packages that were removed in comparison to the upstream. For a full list of changes, please refer to the official release notes.

Wrapping Up

Overall, AlmaLinux 9.0 is shaping up to be quite a nice release, especially seeing the improvements in this beta release.

AlmaLinux 9.0 Beta is available for architectures including x86_64, aarch64, ppc64le, and s390x. If you want to try out AlmaLinux 9.0 beta, head to its website from the button below.

Note that it is not ready for production servers and is only meant for testing.

Are you going to be switching from CentOS to AlmaLinux? Let us know in the comments below!

Jacob Crume

I am a Robotics Student in New Zealand that loves to tinker. In my spare time, I love firing up virtual machines and trying out new distros, as well as customizing my setup to maximize my productivity.