AlmaLinux OS Dropped 1:1 Compatibility with RHEL
AlmaLinux OS, known for its commitment to providing a seamless transition from CentOS to a free and open-source RHEL alternative, has recently made a groundbreaking announcement after the RHEL source repository changes.
Unlike its previous focus on maintaining 1:1 compatibility with RHEL, AlmaLinux OS has now shifted its strategy to prioritize Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatibility. This move allows them to retain compatibility with RHEL while expanding their capabilities to run any software that is compatible with Red Hat’s enterprise distribution.
An ABI is a collection of runtime conventions interacting with a compiled binary representation of a program. It defines how machine code, data structures, and system calls should be organized and communicated between different parts of a program or between different software components.
As stated in this blog announcement, ABI compatibility in AlmaLinux’s context refers to their efforts to guarantee that applications developed to run on RHEL (or RHEL clones) can seamlessly function on AlmaLinux without encountering any problems. By aligning with this objective, they aim to eliminate the necessity to replicate every aspect of the source code found in RHEL for their releases.
For existing AlmaLinux OS users, this transition should be relatively smooth, as they will continue to have the advantage of running RHEL-compatible applications and receiving regular security updates. Furthermore, by adopting ABI compatibility, AlmaLinux OS gains the flexibility to deliver crucial bug fixes outside of RHEL’s release cycle. Additionally, they can now accept patches for unresolved issues not yet addressed upstream or shipped downstream.
The motivation behind this shift in focus is in part due to Red Hat’s decision to lock its source code behind a subscription wall, which may saw as an obstacle to the open-source ethos of the Linux community. It was only a matter of time before an alternative like AlmaLinux OS took steps to address the concern.
For Linux System Administrators and enterprises seeking enhanced stability, AlmaLinux OS’s decision to focus on ABI compatibility opens up new opportunities for seamless integration with RHEL-compatible applications while providing the reliability and support expected from an enterprise-grade distribution.
The sources for this article include a story from Its FOSS News.