Frequently Asked Questions

If Rocky Linux is just a respin of RHEL, what’s taking so long for a release candidate?

If our only goal for Rocky Linux was to debrand and repackage RHEL, we would already be done. However, what we’re trying to do differently is figure out how we can keep Rocky Linux in the hands of the community. Carefully devising this strategy helps make sure that Rocky Linux will never meet the same fate of CentOS.

The goal is not just to create a community managed RPM based distribution of Linux, but to ensure that it will remain freely available and always in the control of the community, much like Linux itself has. To do that requires more than a build infrastructure; it requires that we put in place the foundational structures that enable the community, ensuring that Rocky Linux is forever inclusive, free, and open. The infrastructure is built from the ground up by many collaborators and sponsoring organizations around composability and security compliance, providing the substrate for not only the base operating system but also an entire community of diverse interests to take part in the project.

If you’re not just repackaging RHEL, then what exactly are you doing?

Our goal is to maintain Rocky Linux as a community-oriented distribution by the community, for the community. To do this, we are establishing the necessary organizational structures to ensure that Rocky Linux remains in the hands of the community. We want to make sure that it’s not possible for what happened to CentOS to happen to Rocky Linux.

How will you ensure that Rocky Linux truly remains a community enterprise operating system?

First, we’ve taken steps to legally protect the Rocky Linux name. This means registering its trademarks and various associated properties to protect them from being controlled by another entity. We’ve achieved this by establishing them under the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF). Next, we’re drafting a community charter that will define the organizational structure, objectives, values, and mission behind the legal entity that represents Rocky Linux. Critical in this charter is the establishment of principles that enable and protect the community: transparency, community involvement, open development, and independence. Rocky Linux will never be controlled, purchased, or otherwise influenced by a single entity or organization. Finally, we’re architecting and deploying the necessary infrastructure to further enable the community to contribute to Rocky Linux.

What infrastructure is necessary to enable the community?

We’ve established a number of teams to support the various efforts associated with developing Rocky Linux:

  • Community
  • Core Infrastructure
  • Design
  • Documentation
  • Installer
  • Leadership
  • Package Auto-Builders
  • Packaging
  • Security
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
  • Web

You can read more about this structure when it’s soon published. In order to enable collaboration across and within those teams, we needed to deploy our own chat infrastructure, forums, and website. Additionally, we’re also creating our build infrastructure, which will facilitate the development of the core operating system.

Why does it take so much time to stand up a community and build infrastructure?

It’s not terribly difficult to deploy a website, forums, or a build infrastructure in a reliable fashion. Our chat program for instance, which uses Mattermost, is distributed on a number of application servers behind a load balancer and was ready in just a couple of weeks. But it does require careful thought and planning to do it in a scalable and secure manner when you need to ensure vendor and platform agnosticity and long-term community involvement.

So what’s the short answer to all of this? What are some things you’re thinking about as you put Rocky Linux together?

How do we carefully shepherd community trust? How do we ensure that anyone who wants to participate can not only do so immediately, but forever in the future as well? How do we engage and enable the community members who might not be as technical but want to contribute anyway? Solving for all of these challenges will take time, and we would love your help in doing so.