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A look back at 2023 for AlmaLinux

benny Vasquez

Chair, AlmaLinux OS Foundation

2023 was a big year for the AlmaLinux community. As the year draws to a close, let’s take a look back at some big milestones!

New versions of AlmaLinux OS

2023 marked the release of AlmaLinux 9.2, AlmaLinux 8.8, AlmaLinux 9.3, and AlmaLinux 8.9! Thanks to our amazing Core, Build, and Infra SIGs, our first releases this year were out at lightning speed. Even with the expanded testing that we’ve added with our implementation of OpenQA, 9.2 was released the same day as RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) 9.2, and 8.8 was released just 2 days after RHEL 8.8! After we changed our release process in July, we expected longer delays for AlmaLinux 9.3 and 8.9, but even those were only a week behind RHEL.

Through this year we have seen a steady increase in adoption and are starting to see exponential growth. Every week AlmaLinux devices that both a) use our mirror system, and b) have countme enabled, are counted as part of our adoption graphs. It took us nearly 10 months to grow from 300,000 devices to 600,000 devices. In less than two months, we went from 600,000 to 700,000, and hit 750,000 just a few weeks later.

AlmaLinux adoption numbers from Jan 2022 to Dec 2023

As always, your feedback helps make these releases successful! You can help by testing these releases, reporting bugs, and posting comments and questions.

AlmaLinux starts to embrace its freedom

In case you missed it, Red Hat announced this year that they will no longer be providing the means for downstream clones to continue to be 1:1 binary copies of RHEL. As a result, we are now promising RHEL compatibility, rather than being an exact copy of RHEL. Watch the Q&A video below or on Piped to learn more about what this means. You can also read more in this blog post!

As a result of this change we have introduced new repositories for AlmaLinux, and have been able to ship critical security and bug fixes sooner than any other enterprise linux distro. Below, I’ve included a few of the most critical exploits we’ve seen, and the timelines. In some cases, any distribution that is still relying on RHEL as their upstream is still waiting for these patches to be released.

Exploit name and CVEDate announcedAlmaLinux Release dateRHEL release date
Zenbleed (CVE-2023-20593)July 24thJuly 24th - testing
July 27th - release
Aug 29th - ongoing
Downfall (CVE-2022-40982)August 8thAugust 14th - testing
August 29th - release
November 7th, 14th, 21st
Inception (CVE-2023-20569)August 8thAugust 14th - testing
August 29th - release
Nov 13th - ongoing

We also introduced the AlmaLinux openQA testing system and CloudLinux’s TuxCare division sponsored and drove an effort to achieve FIPS validation for AlmaLinux 9.2. In addition, we also released the second update to our AlmaLinux OS CIS benchmark, and have started work on CIS benchmark updates for AlmaLinux 9!

AlmaLinux Sponsors and Backers

This year we more than doubled our individual backers on GitHub and Open Collective, and we could not be more grateful for all of you. The support of our community (monetary support, helping spread the word, staffing booths at events, improving the translations on our website, and more) all helps our goal of being the best enterprise linux distribution available.

The AlmaLinux OS Foundation saw membership grow to 350 members, and we welcomed even more sponsor members to the foundation, bringing our total corporate backers up to 25. We’re so grateful to have CyberTrust Japan, OpenLogic, and Hawk Host as new AlmaLinux sponsor members this year!

AlmaLinux around the world

2023 was a whirlwind of amazing events, where we got to meet lots of you in person! Here’s where you may have seen us, and some of the talks that you might have wanted to see.

What events would you like to see us at next year? We have 24 potential events on the list already (we’ll announce the first few months soon!), and would love to see you at your favorite event! Drop into the ~marketing room on our chat to let us know, or you can also email benny.

2024 and beyond

It’s been a busy year, but we wanted to say that we’re so grateful for every single member of the AlmaLinux community! You are the reason that we exist, and I am continually amazed by the people engaged here.

We’re looking forward to another great year in 2024. If you want to stay up-to-date, here’s where to stay tuned on our forum, Reddit, X, Mastodon, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. We also launched a newsletter this year, which you can subscribe to on LinkedIn or via email on our mailing list.