Happy Birthday Rocky Linux

Krista Burdine, Community Team Lead

Reflections on Three Years of Growth

Today we celebrate how far Rocky Linux has come since the ecosystem change that started it all. The early days were full of emotion and fire as a group of passionate people united around a common goal: to preserve a version of Enterprise Linux (EL) that would be maintained by the community and available to whoever needed it.

Change requires determination, persistence, and an understanding that there will always be pushback against it. The project has experienced pushback for sure. But pushback can lead to positive discourse, and discourse is healthy — it helps refine the goal and move change forward.

Agents of Change

Along the way the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation was created, to serve as host for the world’s fastest growing EL distribution. This Foundation exists to preserve the legacy of EL for the community and by the community, and to ensure that no single entity, whether individual or corporate, can determine its destiny. The RESF is now home not just to Rocky Linux, but to Peridot Build System, the open automated build tool created by members of the Rocky team to ensure the project remains insulated from unpredictable factors.

Several key partners came alongside to help this vision come to fruition. Principal sponsors CIQ, 45 Drives, AWS, Google Cloud, and Monta Vista have been enthusiastic cornerstone RESF contributors, as have additional sponsors OpenLogic by Perforce and Pro Computers. The financial support, donated time, and infrastructure partnerships created necessary momentum.

A host of additional supporters have contributed services, applications, server space, and more that make it possible to do all the things that make it Rocky Linux. The RESF is forever grateful to ARM, Equinix, Fastly, Mattermost, Open Drives, Open Source Lab, Rakuten Symphony, SuperMicro, and VMWare for sustaining the project’s momentum through this venture.

While corporate sponsors and partners have played a large role in the success of Rocky Linux, the contributors and enthusiasts bring great energy as well. The RESF has no paid employees, so it depends on the countless hours of contributions from many volunteers. In addition, Rocky owes a lot of its wide adoption to the support of administrators everywhere who have advocated to migrate their systems to this distribution.

A Look to the Future

This past summer the project weathered news of more dramatic change. But all that did was inspire the team to reach out in other directions, and solidify connections within the larger EL community. Out of that conversation came collaborations with Fedora, CentOS, and more. Because the path to future success for all of us is to recognize we share space in the open EL community, and we can all benefit more from collaboration than contention.

More recently, the creation of the Open Enterprise Linux Association (OpenELA) has been good news for the entire EL community. This brand new open project commits to hold the source code for EL for the community. It contains the pieces for anyone, or any project, to build their own distribution. While Rocky Linux is currently surviving and thriving by its own method of collecting the source code, the existence of OpenELA is a welcome upstream addition to the ecosystem; it offers great insurance and peace of mind against the next, inevitable, news of a dramatic change.

For three years the core Rocky Linux team and an army of contributors have held fast to their commitment to excellence. The adoption rates of Rocky Linux continue to rise. What does the next chapter hold? You are invited to come along for the ride!

Check out the project at rockylinux.org. Find community at chat.rockylinux.org, get troubleshooting help at forums.rockylinux.org, peruse the documentation at docs.rockylinux.org.