AlmaLinux 9.3, codenamed “Shamrock Pampas Cat“, is the latest stable release of the AlmaLinux operating system. AlmaLinux is an open-source, community-driven Linux distribution focused on long-term stability, security, and enterprise compatibility.
This new release aims to enhance flexibility, reliability, and security across hybrid environments. It continues AlmaLinux’s goal of providing a robust, production-grade platform that remains compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) while incorporating new features and updates from the open-source community.
Overview of Changes
Some of the key improvements in AlmaLinux 9.3 include:
- Simplified automation and system management through web console enhancements
- Flexibility to configure health checks for Podman containers and vsock devices
- Application Streams updates for developer flexibility without affecting platform stability
- Enhanced security with Extended Master Secret (EMS) extension support and SCAP profile updates
- Performance improvements through updated toolchain components like GCC 11.4.1
- Reliability enhancements for hybrid cloud environments
Web Console Enhancements
The AlmaLinux web console has been improved in 9.3 to streamline common management tasks. Users can more easily administer their systems through the enhanced user interface.
Some of the web console improvements include:
- Simplified creation and management of Linux virtual machines and containers
- Improved overview of system utilization and performance
- Enhanced user and permission management
- Streamlined deployment of applications from catalogs
- Template-based provisioning of systems
These web-based enhancements allow administrators to manage their infrastructure through a convenient centralized interface. No longer is the command line required for many everyday tasks.
Health Monitoring Flexibility
AlmaLinux 9.3 introduces the ability to configure health check actions for Podman containers and virtual sockets (vsock devices) in virtual machines.
Podman is a daemonless container engine for developing and managing containerized applications. The health check feature allows specifying tests to determine whether containers are running properly.
For virtual machines, vsocks enable bidirectional communication between the VM and host. The health checks help ensure this communication pathway remains active.
Administrators can customize these health checks as needed for their applications and environments. This improves flexibility in monitoring the health of both container and VM deployments across on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure.
Enhanced Application Streams
Application Streams provide an easy method for developers to deploy the latest stable versions of languages and databases without impacting overall platform stability.
- Node.js 20
- Java 21
- Redis 7
- Various compiler toolsets like GCC 13 and LLVM 16.0.6
With these updated streams, developers can easily install newer language and database versions alongside production dependencies. This enhances flexibility and customization options without rigidly locking the platform to fixed versions.
The Application Streams help guarantee application compatibility even as new upstream updates are introduced. This supports innovation by developers without compromising reliability or support for older applications.
Improved Security Features
AlmaLinux 9.3 focuses on improving enterprise security to meet strict compliance requirements. Several key updates were made in this release, including:
- Extended Master Secret Support
Support for the Extended Master Secret (EMS) extension is now required by the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 140-3) for Transport Layer Security (TLS) encrypted connections.
AlmaLinux 9.3 enhances EMS support through OpenSSL to ensure all TLS 1.2 connections comply with modern security standards. This prevents downgrade attacks on encrypted sessions.
- SCAP Security Guide Updates
The SCAP Security Guide provides configuration baselines for security compliance regimes like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and NIST 800-53.
AlmaLinux 9.3 updates to SCAP Security Guide version 0.1.69, which includes three new SCAP profiles aligned to French ANSSI standards. This improves compliance support for configured systems.
- Tooling Improvements
Updated versions of SEtools, OpenSCAP, and other tools also improve security analysis, policy enforcement, and reporting for AlmaLinux environments.
While maintaining stability as the priority, AlmaLinux 9.3 does provide performance improvements through updated components like the GCC compiler.
- Updated GCC 11.4.1
The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is the default system compiler used to build Linux software packages. AlmaLinux 9.3 updates to GCC version 11.4.1, the latest stable release. In addition to bug and security fixes, GCC 11 improves support for CPU architectures like ARM and IBM Z Systems. Code compiled with it may demonstrate better performance, especially on non-x86 platforms.
- Newer Performance Tools
Along with an updated GCC compiler, AlmaLinux 9.3 ships with newer versions of the following performance monitoring and tracing tools:
- Valgrind 3.21 – Instrumentation framework for dynamic analysis to optimize applications
- SystemTap 4.9 – Scriptable performance tracing and monitoring tool for Linux
- PCP 6.0.5 – System-level performance data collector optimized for longitudinal analysis
These updated components provide better observability of system and application performance. Developers and administrators can leverage the tools to analyze and tune workloads for optimal efficiency.
Hybrid Cloud Enhancements
At its core, AlmaLinux focuses on flexibility and portability across on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure. AlmaLinux 9.3 continues improving hybrid cloud capabilities through:
- Architecture Support – Available across x86-64, Arm64, IBM Power, and IBM Z systems
- Cloud Image Builder – Streamlined OS image generation for AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and on-premise
- Open Virtual Appliance Format – Support for hypervisor-agnostic OVA images
These capabilities simplify deployment across diverse infrastructures. Workloads built on AlmaLinux can migrate transparently between data centers, private clouds, and public cloud providers.
Installation and Upgrade
AlmaLinux 9.3 is available for immediate download through ISO images or container registries. Users can install it onto bare metal servers, virtual machines, cloud instances, or container hosts.
To upgrade existing AlmaLinux 9 systems to the latest 9.3 release, administrators simply need to run:
sudo dnf upgrade
This will retrieve all updated AlmaLinux 9.3 packages from the configured repositories and install them. Reboot the system once the upgrade completes to boot into the new kernel version.
Be sure to review the AlmaLinux 9.3 Release Notes for additional details on notable changes that may impact your environment during upgrades or new deployments.
AlmaLinux 9.3 represents a major milestone for the fledgling distribution, demonstrating its ability to rapidly deliver production-ready releases on par with mature commercial offerings. This latest release focuses on security, stability, and performance to serve enterprise workloads across diverse footprints. Hybrid cloud environments stand to benefit, particularly from enhanced flexibility and seamless portability. Developers will appreciate the updated Application Streams supporting faster language and database innovation without sacrificing platform stability. Overall, AlmaLinux 9.3 upholds the project’s commitment to producing a downstream RHEL alternative focused on longevity, reliability, and community-centric development. Production systems can upgrade with confidence or new deployments can leverage the modern toolchains provided. Give AlmaLinux a try today and consider participating in the open community supporting this enterprise Linux distribution into the future.