Rocky Linux: All you need to Know

 Introduction to Rocky Linux

As we discussed in our future of CentOS article last month there is a huge amount of interest in many up and coming Linux distributions since the announcement by Redhat that CentOS would switch to an upstream release of RHEL rather than downstream. In this article we are going to look at Rocky Linux which is intended as a drop in replacement for CentOS.  Unlike Almalinux there is currently no production release available for Rocky Linux however there is a release candidate available which we have tested and installed on our servers.

What is RockyLinux?

In a sentence: RockyLinux is a standalone OS that is a fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The name Rocky Linux is a tribute to the late CentOS co-founder Rocky McGaugh. The goal is to maintain Rocky Linux as a community-oriented distribution by the community, for the community. To do this, the development team are establishing the necessary organizational structures to ensure that Rocky Linux remains in the hands of the community.

Key features of RockyLinux


 You can view the full list on their site, but here are our favourite features:


  • Completely free and open source with community support
  • 100% Binary compatible with RHEL so all your favourite packages will install and run out the box
  • Future in place conversion available for CentOS¬†
  • Years of support planned for releases
  • Founded by original CentOS founder Gregory Kurtzer

Our Impressions of RockyLinux

You can find Rocky Linux available on our¬†high speed 10Gb UK Mirror¬†where .iso images are available for both x86-64 and ARM processors. With “Minimal”, “DVD”, and “Boot” options.¬†


Installation of RockyLinux is very similar to CentOS and other RHEL distributions and should look familiar to most. The installer will take you through partioning, keyboard layout, package selection etc. The installer is graphical based even when using the minimal installation image.

First Boot

Upon booting the operating system you are taken to a login prompt with an ASCII art version of the Rocky Linux logo. As at the time of writing only the release candidate is available and you are instructed not to use this in a production enviroment!

Web Based Interface

One of the features of RockyLinux that we really like is the web based interface that is installed as default. It allows you to easily configure your system if you aren’t comfortable using shell and also features a built in web based terminal. Whilst there is limited options currently available via this interface we expect it is something that we be built on over time.

I’m Sold! How can I get it?!

If you currently use CentOS and don’t want to switch to Stream (upstream version of RHEL) switching to RockyLinux could be a good option as a community based distribution it shouldn’t be subject to the issues that have affected CentOS. ¬†As RockyLinux is still being developed you shouldn’t yet be using it in a production enviroment however¬†¬†you can sign up and download the release candidate¬†here.