Rocky Linux is the direct answer to the debacle of the CentOS operating system coming to EOL (End of Life) by the end of 2021 this year which left many with their jaws dropped. Rocky Linux is the lead contender among some other alternatives but given the history of the same creator behind CentOS and now is behind Rocky Linux, it’s the number one go-to in the wider community. Rocky Linux has released its first stable release code-named (Green Obsidian) which is available to install and use and promises to be everything CentOS was but better.
At the end of this guide, you will know how to install Rocky Linux 8.4 operating system.
- 2 GB RAM or more
- 20 GB hard disk or more
- 2 CPU / vCPUs (1.1 GHz processor)
- Internet Connection (optional)
- Bootable media (USB / DVD)
Download Rocky Linux
The first step is to download Rocky Linux, which can be found on their download page.
Most systems would use the (x86_64) architecture and would use (Minimal) or (DVD). Once the ISO file is downloaded, burn it into a USB or DVD to make the bootable media. If you are using VM software, you do not need to do this to install it straight off the image.
Create Bootable USB
As above, the guide touched on downloading and create either a USB or DVD; however you should mostly elect to use a bootable USB for simplicity sake. Below is some step by step instructions using the popular boot creation tool Rufus:
First, download the Rufus tool by downloading the latest version. Currently, version 3.14 is the latest.
Open the program, select your USB in (device), which will be detected and selected if it’s already in. The next step is to select the .iso image in (boot selection), the Rocky Linux version you download. The default settings should be fine. Press start to begin creating the boot disk.
You will get a warning as per below. Use the recommended option for the best result:
The process depending on your USB speed device, will take 1 to 5 minutes. Once done, you will see the outcome (ready) on the bottom of the Rufus create bootable USB program.
Boot with Rocky Linux
Now you come to the part of actually installing Rocky Linux. Overall it is a straightforward process and basically the same process as CentOS and Fedora. First, open the image in your VM software or reboot your physical machine with the bootable disk or USB device to get the following screen:
Select (Install Rocky Linux) and hit enter to proceed with the installation.
Choose Preferred Language for the installation
In the next screen, you need to select the language for the installation and operating system. Scroll down to change the default settings. Once done, hit the (Continue) button to proceed.
Note, this will also change your keyboard default settings for the region selected.
Installation Summary – Configuration
You now arrive at the main installation summary screen. This is the most important part of the installation as you need to set some configuration settings. The guide will run through most of them. However, some of these can be skipped if you set the correct language and region as per the previous step.
The main areas you need to be aware of to configure are as follows:
- User settings
If you are not happy with the automatic choice, click on the (Keyboard) option to configure the keyboard.
Next, you can change the region by selecting (+) and adding additional languages.
Remove or keep the original keyboard language set out, and you can test the keyboard in the mock-up test write window once you are happy to hit (Done) to return to the main screen.
Language Support Configuration
The default setting should be fine, but if you need to change the OS language after installation, this is the time. Choose the OS language, click on (Language Support).
Change the language as per the below example and hit (Done) once complete.
Time and Date Localization Configuration
By default, the region settings are set to (Americas/New York), which you will need to most likely change. First off, select the option to proceed to the configuration screen.
You will see a geographical location map on the next screen. Click on the map close to your region, city to select and specify your local region selection. You can also change the 24-hour clock to a 12-hour clock as the example below:
As you can see, the example has changed to a 12-hour clock and selected the Australian Western Time zone instead of the default choice. Once complete, hit (Done) to proceed.
Installation Source Configuration
Now that you have completed and adjusted the localization, you can change and configure the (SOFTWARE) selection. This section compromises the (Installation Source) and options that come in the installation source.
The default settings should be fine for 99% of all installations unless you have particular requirements do not change anything here. Click (Done) to proceed to the next configuration step.
Software Selection Configuration
Under the software section, you can open and change the (Software Selection).
By default, the settings on the left should be fine as there are not many choices, and the server which Rocky Linux is mostly used should not need to be adjusted. On the right-hand side is the list of additional software utilities you can install which may be useful to some users. Select your choices and hit (Done) to proceed.
Installation Destination Configuration
The installation destination is where you can modify your hard drive partitions to suit your requirements. By default, the choice will be made for you when you enter this section of automatic partitioning.
Automatic partitioning automatically partitions your hard drive without requiring your intervention, making this idle for most user setups for novice users.
If you would like to set up manual partitioning, select the (Custom) option and the actual disk, which must be highlighted or ticked in the below image and hit (Done).
Once you hit done, the next window will bring you to the (Manual partitioning) below. You are going to create the following mount points:
Next, create the first partition as /boot of size 2 GB.
As you can see, you have your first mount point with Boot. Now you will need to add additional mounts. The basics will be covered in the guide, but you can create as many additional options and partitions as you like.
Now repeat and create the root folder (/).
Lastly, do the same for the (Swap) partition.
Once you have done all your manual partitions, an example below on how the partition tables look after you finished creating them. To save the changes, click on (Done) to proceed.
After you click (Done), as the above step mentions, you will instantly see a pop-up prompting you to review the changes. This is just a quick extra check to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes, click on the (Accept Changes) button to proceed with creating the partitions for your Rocky Linux Installation.
Network and Hostname Configuration
The next section, which is just as important to set up and review, is the (Network and Hostname) configuration.
In the first step, you will see the network adapter on the top right, which in our guide is an ethernet adapter (ens33). Toggle this option, so your Rocky Linux operating system using the DHCP protocol assigns itself an IP address. Lastly, enter a hostname of your choosing and click (Apply).
Once complete, click (Done) to save the changes.
User Settings Configuration
Set Root Password Configuration
In the installation summary screen is the (root password) configuration. Enter the screen as follows:
It is highly advised to set a strong password as this will be the root password. It should ideally contain several letters, numbers, capitals and symbols. Also, make sure to write down this password safely, as resetting the root password is a painstaking task.
User Creation Configuration
Lastly, you will need to create a new user by clicking on the (User creation) option.
Type in the username and password to proceed. You will, however, notice some additional with making the user require a password along with making the user an administrator. It is not advised to do either if the server is being used by multiple people in a production environment or has highly sensitive data, but the options can be selected.
Click (Done) to proceed.
Start the Installation of Rocky Linux 8.4
You have now completed all necessary steps, it may have been a bit exhausting, but now you can actually begin the installation part of your Rocky Linux operating system. To begin, click on (Begin Installation).
Depending on the hardware, system resources, and specifications, the installation can take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes for the server installation and 5 to 20 minutes for the desktop installation. Each install will vary. The installation will start as any other would do creating partitions then install all required packages.
You will be prompted to restart the system once the installation has been completed. Note, make sure you remove your bootable USB drive and hit (Reboot system).
On reboot, you will see the GRUB menu. Select the first option to boot into Rocky Linux.
You will be required to accept the (End User License) agreement. Click on the License Information section.
Accept the license agreement and press (Done).
Now to finish the installation and configuration, press (Finish Configuration).
Next, you can finally see the login GUI screen, which will be displayed straight after finishing the configuration. Click on the login user icon and enter the password information that you set up during the installation.
Congratulations, you have successfully installed Rocky Linux 8.4 Green Obsidian.
Comments and Conclusion
As discussed at the start of this guide, the Rocky Linux 8.4 is basically the same as CentOS 8 and almost identical to similar distributions such as Fedora, given the nature it’s based on Rhel. Overall, Rocky Linux is a solid newcomer with its first stable release of enterprise-level distribution such as CentOS was with no cost.
Overall, time will always tell if something changes. No one thought what happened to CentOS would, but it occurred. Still, then again, no distribution can safely say they will never change. Still, given the demise of CentOS, if Rocky Linux falls over, other similar distributions have popped up, such as Alma Linux, so rest assured options will always be available.