Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 13:15

Few days ago, I installed AlmaLinux Workstation and here I would love to share what I found to you all Ubuntu Buzz readers. AlmaLinux, formerly named Lenix, is a continuation of the world class computer OS for servers, CentOS, created by CloudLinux Inc and promised to be forever-free and completely compatible to both CentOS and RHEL. Here I would love to present you an overview that covers it from the download place, installation, desktop, wallpaper and login screen, to the software installation. For Ubuntu users, I suggest you to try Alma in virtual machine.

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This is a world wide, enterprise and community issue so I prefer to say things carefully. What's the issue? Please read first the official announcement. To explain this in simple ways: the issue is the change in CentOS development which is not preferred by many of the users. Previously, CentOS is a downstream, a software that receives codes from, of RHEL. Now, CentOS is an upstream, a software that gives codes to, of RHEL. For those many users' point of view, including Alma developers, this change might disrupt their already-established computer systems and real life works in which they prefer not to accept. For that reason, Alma is created, to continue the previous downstream CentOS, so the users can continue their work without accepting the new, upstream CentOS called Stream.

Comparison to other CentOS Distros

There are only two biggest of them, AlmaLinux itself and RockyLinux, coming out right after the CentOS Stream issue. To compare both, in a simple way at the moment Alma supports x86_64 as well as ARM64 just the same as Rocky supports x86_64 as well as ARM64 architectures. This means you can run both Alma and rocky on desktops & servers as well as Raspberry Pi-like devices. The fundamental difference is the licenses of both, while Alma as a whole combination is under GNU GPLv2 (read here) where Rocky as a whole combination is under BSD 3-Clause (read here). This This discussion excludes distros that were born before the issue which are ClearOS, Oracle Linux, and Springdale Linux.



Alma supports x86_64 and ARM. 

This means AlmaLinux is available for all modern computers and servers including those new ARM-based ones but you cannot install Alma on a 32 bit machine. This is a grand news as you can have Alma even in Raspberry Pi-alike and IoT machines. If you wish to do so, please look at Springdale Linux.

*) Edit: added ARM mentions thanks to AlmaLinux comment below.


Download AlmaLinux.

Download ARM64 edition.

The installation system is the same as Fedora's, that is called Anaconda, with a lot of choice to create your own computer system -- either it's workstation or server or even beyond. The options to install the operating system are:

  • Server with GUI
  • Server
  • Minimal Install
  • Workstation (*chosen here)
  • Custom operating system
  • Virtualization host



License Agreement

It is very short by just mentioning warranty disclaimer, GNU GPL declaration, and "I Accept" choice. In this regard, Alma is the same as RHEL which uses GPLv2 as a whole work license but different to Rocky, as mentioned above, which uses BSD 3-clause.



Lock Screen

Here's an artful Alma's lock screen. This appears when we cease our keyboard and mouse activities for a while and will ask for password (hence "lock") if we press a button or move the mouse.


Login Screen

The login screen gives a lot of choices: Kiosk, Wayland, X11 and User Script for both GNOME and GNOME Classic mode. The Kiosk mode, also known as single-application mode, should be configured first (learn here) before being used in a real machine. A Kiosk is an operating system which is disabled to do all things except to run one application.



This is AlmaLinux Workstation. Beautiful, right?

Alternative Appearance

AlmaLinux provides 'GNOME Classic' choice for users who are more familiar with traditional look and feel. It is in bright color, consists of top and bottom panels with expanding menu as always.


There are only a few of applications namely virtual machine, webcam, email, file manager and web browser, instant messenger, audio player, security tool, control panel, software center, text editor, utilities and video player.



About & Software Center

Here's Software and About displaying a graphic editor application and system information of this Alma computer.


Here's list of Alma repositories taken from Software's configuration:

  • BaseOS
  • Extras
  • HighAvailability
  • PowerTools

Flatpak, Snap or the Others?

Alma supports Flatpak by default and thus it is compatible to Flathub. At Flathub, we can select CentOS and click the button there to enable Alma to install more applications on Flathub.



Alma installs with XFS by default. This is different to most GNU/Linux distros including Ubuntu which defaults to EXT4.  

X11 or Wayland or Both?

Alma Workstation supports both.


Package Management System

Finally, Alma uses DNF just like CentOS and RHEL that is equal to APT on Ubuntu, Zypper on SUSE, and Pacman on Arch. It goes without saying that the package file format of Alma is RPM. That is the package manager that helps the users to add, remove and updates the software packages in the computer. 

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.