How many replacement OSes will there be for CentOS? I had moved to CentOS Stream before Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) made the announcement, having found that I liked the CentOS Stream Desktop OS ability a ‘Tad’ more than CentOS 8. Both filled my newer requirements that a Linux Distro had to offer me Fulltime Linux Root User access – or – at least the option to. AlmaLinux just announced their Beta release ‘n I’ve been busy testing it. Not sure if they are the first, but I have been watching for any new releases of a ‘Replacement’.

INTRO:

Brief update on my two main test computers ‘n the others:

Apevia (main AMD test machine): Ryzen™ 9 3900X .. GeForce GTX 1660 XC .. Apevia X-Qpack3-NW-BK case .. 16GB of PNY DDR4 2400MHz memory .. ASUS Prime A320M-K AMD Ryzen micro-ATX MoBo.

InWin (main Intel test machine): Intel i3-8100 .. small Form Factor with an InWin Mini-ITX case .. 16GB of memory .. ASUS PRIME H310I-PLUS mini-ITX MoBo.

Computers are home built, other than ‘Ace the Laptop’, and ‘Antec Sr.’ is a 2006 Antec NSK6000 case with basically the entire ‘guts’ from a 2016 build moved into it. Rarely use ‘Antec Sr.’ anymore – like in never beyond major WIN10 upgrades…too old for me now. The rest have been built since starting this blog on 01/06/19.

Some quick info on AlmaLinux:

  • AlmaLinux, the CentOS Linux replacement, beta is out – ‘After Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced it was shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release, many CentOS users were annoyed. CloudLinux, a company that had long made an eponymous RHEL clone for multi-tenant web and server hosting companies, announced it would create a new CentOS clone, AlmaLinux. It’s now available as a beta.
  • AlmaLinux – ‘An open-source RHEL fork built by the team at CloudLinux, inspired by the community .. Launched with the code-name Project Lenix, AlmaLinux is an open-source, community-driven project that intends to fill the gap left by the demise of the CentOS stable release. AlmaLinux is a 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL® 8 and it is built by the creators of the established CloudLinux OS .. As a standalone, completely free OS, AlmaLinux enjoys $1M in annual sponsorship from CloudLinux Inc. We will support future RHEL® releases by updating AlmaLinux. Ongoing development efforts are governed by the members of the community.

PART 1:

These tests were conducted on the ‘Apevia’ computer. Must cost AMD most of their profits to maintain all the false hype about how “great” their products are ‘n how they are replacing Intel. Baloney on all the false hype in regards to AMD’s ability to compete with Intel for ‘Desktop Duty’! I don’t need a computer to compile OS kernels. I don’t need a computer for playing games. I want a ‘snappy’ CPU for my main computer that handles fulltime WIN10 Pro ‘Desktop Duty’ without struggling to keep up – my Intel® i9-9900 literally blows the Ryzen™ 9 3900X off ‘da ‘Desktop’ when it comes to ‘Desktop Duty’ CPU’s. Fact is the Intel® i9-9900 is better for gaming and probably most Workstations.  ‘Antec Jr.’ is my main computer so I don’t test Linux on it except in Hyper-V, occasionally for pics.

There are three installation ISO images available:

  • AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-boot.iso – a single network installation CD image that downloads packages over the Internet.
  • AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-minimal.iso – a minimal self-containing DVD image that makes possible offline installation.
  • AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-dvd1.iso – a full installation DVD image that contains mostly all AlmaLinux packages. We don’t really recommend using it unless you need to set up and use AlmaLinux on a machine without internet access.

A) – Downloaded the 665MB AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-boot iso first and immediately tested it on ‘Apevia’ – after creating the USB installation media with Fedora Media Writer. The Anaconda installer was doing fine early in the “Minimal Install” installation process, but then the screen went black ‘n nothing!?! Seems this iso may have been for installing server OS software:

That’s from the Anaconda installer Software Selection page…note all the additional software selected on the right, for the Sever choice.

Here is what the other two Software Selection choices offered:

Minimal Install and Custom Operating System choices were the same…basically, and “Standard” on the additional software was default selections for both.

Managed to install the Server selection, but I have no server experience so couldn’t get into the Graphical Desktop (if there was one?). Minimal Install selections failed with “Standard” selected.

According to reddit AlmaLinux Beta version released! this AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-boot.iso requires you to provide this https://repo.almalinux.org/almalinux/8.3-beta/BaseOS/x86_64/kickstart/ repository as the Installation Source, i.e. “repo.almalinux.org/almalinux/8.3-beta/BaseOS/x86_64/kickstart/” will need to be typed into a area for that info.

B) – Both the AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-boot.iso and AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-minimal.iso ISO’s seem to be for servers ‘n *ALL* options end up at a command prompt after installation – if you got it installed. I’ve hated command prompts since my ‘DOS Days’ so rarely bother trying to get to a graphical Desktop with one.

C) – Downloaded the 8.5GB AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-dvd1 iso, created the installation media on a 32GB USB with Fedora Media Writer. Tried ‘n tried, but it just couldn’t boot into the Anaconda installer…seemed to hang at login service (??) or something like that every time, if it made it that far.

PART 2:

Does anyone besides humble me realize that Linux could choke any Supermassive Black Hole (SMBH or sometimes SBH) that attempted to devour all of the Distros ‘n DE’s ‘n SPINS ‘n Flavors ‘n etcetera etcetera that Linux has?!

Well, ‘Apevia’ couldn’t get it done ‘n I was about to toss AlmaLinux into a local Supermassive Black Hole that I use for failed Distro tests when I decided to run that USB installation media, of the 8.5GB AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-dvd1 iso, thru the ‘InWin Intel i3-8100 test computer.

On the Installation Summary page:

Look at all the Software Selection choices with that 8.5GB ISO!

I selected the Workstation choice with default additional software…then:

The installation went so fast that I decided to go ahead and add GNOME Shell Extensions, then Dash to Panel, and then Arc Menu (the ## UNMAINTAINED ## one) for that clean Windows and/or Cinnamon DE look. Arc Menu also offers the ability to shutdown/reboot/log out on the left hand side:

Oh, AlmaLinux offers the Fulltime Linux Root User option!!! Here’s how:

That’s the login window/welcome screen, and you just click on the “Not listed?” which takes you to “Username”:

Type in “root” then click next:

That takes you to Password ‘n Sign In for root. Puppy Linux and Fedora Cinnamon Spin just boot into Fulltime Root User without needing any logins.

Here’s the About info:

CentOS 8 required a large disk, so I also used a 128GB SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive for target disk here. BTW, used a 32GB SanDisk Ultra for the USB installation media…that 8.5GB AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-dvd1 iso is going to ‘want’ large areas to work in, just like CentOS 8 did.

PART 3:

OK, I now had AlmaLinux installed on a USB drive, so I plugged that new Intel installation into ‘Apevia’ AMD computer ‘n got this:

Worked…a little slow booting at first, but a yum ‘n dnf update with reboots improved the boot time. That NV168 for graphics is the Nouveau CodeName for the GeForce GTX 1660 XC GPU in ‘Apevia’.

As a mere Linux Newbie since 1996, just a basic Desktop OS user, I don’t know why the USB install media with the 8.5GB AlmaLinux-8.3-beta-1-x86_64-dvd1 iso couldn’t get to the Anaconda installer. Maybe it was the AMD, or Ryzen, or some BIOS SMT setting that was enabled, or the Nvidia GPU or a combo of all. I even tried creating the media with Rufus, but that didn’t work either.

Everything was now looking ‘n working fine with the new AlmaLinux  USB installation, so I wanted to try and install an actual Nvidia driver on it. Fedora ‘n CentOS Stream are two of the Top 3 Distros on my Karmi’s Top 10 Linux Distros page, but the #1 choice FossaPup64 9.5 (AKA Puppy Linux 9.5) makes it easier to install Nvidia drivers. The drivers are older, i.e. I installed the nvidia 450, but it’s all easy graphical interface. CentOS is a pain to install Nvidia drivers…Fedora is easier than CentOS, for sure.

Try that a few times…sheesh! The Fedora method I use – How to install the NVIDIA drivers on Fedora 32 – didn’t work the last time I tried it on CentOS Stream, but using that RPM Fusion method works great on Fedora 33 Cinnamon.

Now, after installing an Nvidia driver, I couldn’t get back to the DE…looks like it’s about to go on into the DE, then a slight light or sorta flash and it stops. Blank screen. Plug the USB back into the ‘InWin’ Intel computer ‘n it boots right into the login window then on into the DE. The NVIDIA X Server Setting app is there, so the driver was installed…I dunno?!  No biggie though…it’s just Beta.

Conclusion:

Excellent job for a first Beta release, IMHO! Gotta *LOVE* the Fulltime Linux Root User option!!! Right there with CentOS 8 ‘n CentOS Stream, even though both of those have easily installed to the Apevia test computer before. Fact is CentOS Stream is on the 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Puppy ‘n Fedora that stays on that ‘Apevia’ computer. Did leave the graphic NV168 driver in place there, since Puppy ‘n Fedora are my main two Distros right now…besides, CentOS Stream is too focused on servers to offer an easy installation of Nvidia drivers, IMHO.

Me…just a Desktop OS user, and AlmaLinux has already impressed me enough to make it to the #5 spot on the Distros w/ *NO* “Authenticate” popup or other ‘Pesky Passwords’ page. Everything works in root, even the speakers ‘n sound which most root access Distros seem to miss. Had to create the “karmi” user, but never even logged in there, i.e. humble me is a just a Fulltime Linux Root User.

LINUX IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES – you never know what you’re gonna get!