AlmaLinux is a Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and maintained by CloudLinux, a company that provides server hosting and Linux software. For other most popular Linux distributions, please visit our dedicated Linux download page.
Follow our guide to learn how to migrate CentOS to AlmaLinux, if you prefer convert your existing operating system instead of starting with a new AlmaLinux installation.
The motivation behind Alma's release is to serve as a viable replacement for CentOS at the time of its shift from an enterprise-stable operating system to an upstream development branch of RHEL. Users can even switch from CentOS to AlmaLinux with just one command that will swap repositories and keys.
AlmaLinux functions very similarly to RHEL, but it's completely free. It's marketed to users and companies that need enterprise-level stability in a Fedora-like operating system. In other words, companies that want to use Red Hat but don't want to pay the subscription fee and/or don't need tech support can use AlmaLinux to fill the gap.
Being based on RHEL naturally makes AlmaLinux more geared towards servers and workstations, though it can still work well as a desktop operating system for some people. The full installation comes with the GNOME desktop environment and proves easy enough to use, but Linux newcomers will find a more welcoming experience in a user friendly distro like Ubuntu.
AlmaLinux Release Schedule
As a fork of RHEL, AlmaLinux adheres to Red Hat's release schedule. CloudLinux has committed to supporting AlmaLinux through 2029, with stable and tested updates, along with security patches. The community is also involved with contributing to AlmaLinux, giving the project more security since users won't need to fear another CentOS-like shift.
You won't find a lot of bleeding edge software available by default on AlmaLinux, as it prides itself on stability. It's consistently updated but is more tested and careful than a traditional desktop oriented distribution.
The AlmaLinux ISO images are available on the official AlmaLinux website. You will need a 64 bit system to install the operating system.
The DVD1 ISO image contains everything you need to complete installation without additional repositories. It comes with GNOME installed by default. However, many opt to have no graphical manager on AlmaLinux, as this creates more overhead and is generally bad practice for servers and enterprise class machines.
The boot ISO image is the smallest installation and will require access to Alma's repositories in order to install all the necessary software. It contains only enough to get the system booted and launch the installation process.
The minimal ISO image contains everything you need to install AlmaLinux, but doesn't include any extras. You're likely to end up installing some software yourself, but this gives you more control over your system.
AlmaLinux is like a free version of RHEL. Its strengths lie in powering servers and related systems in a commercial environment, but be prepared to do without the professional support. Even so, AlmaLinux has commercial backing from CloudLinux and a growing community of users to supply support and documentation.
If you need a server OS, and especially if you're coming from CentOS, give AlmaLinux a shot. If you're more interested in a desktop version of RHEL, you'd probably be happier with Fedora.