back to article Rocky Linux is go: CentOS founder's new project aims to be 100% compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Gregory Kurtzer, the founder of the CentOS project, has kicked off a new venture called Rocky Linux, the aim being to build "a community enterprise operating system designed to be 100 per cent bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)". Just days after Red Hat CTO Chris Wright declared that "we will shift our …

  1. keithpeter Silver badge
    Pint

    Springdale Linux

    I wish the Rocky Linux people every success.

    Just a gentle reminder that Springdale Linux (formerly PUIAS Linux) was there first, is now, and intends to be going forward. Below from a member of the project (I have no connection with the project other than being a satisfied and mostly clueless end user)...

    "The Springdale community has no plans to go anywhere. Taking source code and re-compiling it is not in any way a novel or unique concept. We have the resources to remain independent and this has set us apart, for now." --Brian Rose on the springdale-users Google-groups mailing list. See the thread at...

    https://groups.google.com/g/springdale-users/c/Wv1Y23Ky1-I

    It strikes me that the Springdale team already have a build system and the associated knowledge. They are focussed on the needs of their users in a number of universities and seem prepared to continue to chuck their work over the wall.

    Springdale 8 boot images at...

    http://springdale.princeton.edu/data/Springdale/8/x86_64/os/images/

    Icon: to all those involved with Fermi/Scientific Linux/PUIAS/Springdale/CentOS Linux

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Springdale Linux

      PUIAS is unlikely to have been there first. I recall installing and using White Box Linux 3.x (compatible with RHEL 3.x) back in the noughties. But its author (I think it was a one-man band) could not keep up, folded his tent, and recommended his users move "sideways" to CentOS, which was easy.

      1. MettaCrawler

        Re: Springdale Linux

        "Was there first" as in "was there before CentOS".

        I started to look at how old Springdale (formerly PU_IAS, formerly PUIAS) is and I found this:

        https://centos.pkgs.org/6/springdale-addons-i386/ias-ph-0.1-3.el6.noarch.rpm.html

        Changelog

        2002-02-18 - Josko Plazonic <plazonic@zonk-math.princeton.quux.edu> (email obfuscated by me)

        - initial release as rpm

        I'm not totally certain but I think PUIAS was a package collection before it was a distro. That would be similar to BSD.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Springdale Linux

      "Rocky Raccoon checked into his room

      Only to find Springtail Linux"

      -- apologies to Paul McCartney and John Lennon

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Springdale Linux

        Don't apologise. I asked John and he thought it was funny.

        He's an Ubuntu user though.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Springdale Linux

          Nah, pure blag linux (working class hero)

          Icon: state of my finances

        2. St33v
          Trollface

          Re: Springdale Linux

          Surely he's use Arch, BTW.

        3. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: Springdale Linux

          >He's an Ubuntu user though.

          I would think CloudLinux was more compatible with John Lennon's environment.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Springdale Linux

      Definitely looks like there potentially is some synergy - With Springdale effectively being the LTS release of Rocky...

      Obviously, as you intimate, Rocky could simply piggyback on to the Springdale build system. This in itself would reduce the lead time and risk in building the first few releases of Rocky.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Springdale Linux

        https://blog.cloudlinux.com/announcing-open-sourced-community-driven-rhel-fork-by-cloudlinux

        Another one... hopes for cooperation rather than clonewalls.

  2. chasil

    Red Hat decapitates another product

    Many years ago, I fondly used and documented the free and open Red Hat distribution, which ended with release 9 in 2003. I still have a hard drive with the original Red Hat 6 based on System V init, not the later v6 based on Upstart.

    There was a great feeling of abandonment then that is nostalgic in the death of CentOS now.

    In the years that have passed, I saw a few licenses purchased in my workplace, then support suddenly stopped by corporate sources who instructed all license holders to convert our installs to Oracle Linux support.

    I remembered my feeling of abandonment by Red Hat, ran the script without complaint, and all was well.

    In later years, focus returned to Red Hat licensing, and I was strongly encouraged to reinstall my Oracle Linux systems (which had grown greatly, as they were free). I resisted vehemently, objecting to an inferior kernel (compared to the UEK), reduced hardware support, and the pointless inconvenience of license keys, activation, and renewals for a product of generally lower quality.

    Fortunately, I have avoided this inconvenience.

    In light of the decades of Red Hat's behavior, I will say one thing: you reap what you sow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Red Hat decapitates another product

      Same here. Avidly supported RedHat in the early days with the free RedHat releases. When they stopped that I switched to OpenSuSE/SLES (always tried out the free version for a while before switching to a prod version). Went that way for a while in the company I worked at until one day they got into bed with IBM, who even in those days wanted to push RHEL over SLES.

      Its just getting worse now IBM are at the reins - with them its all about maximizing revenue for as little effort as possible. The cynic in me sees this as an attempt to push Centos users to paid RHEL subscriptions. Don't even get me started on the mess Satellite Server has become.....

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: Red Hat decapitates another product

        "Its just getting worse now IBM are at the reins - with them its all about maximizing revenue for as little effort as possible." What is it with the bigguns in out industry, whichever ones you look at for the last couple of decades, at the very least. Providing a good, even great, product just for the accolades and follow on in profits just doesn't happen. I can think of many, many examples over the years that I wouldn't support, ever, now.

        Back at the turn of the millennium, I started switching to projects that are supported by volunteer efforts just due to the fact that the product was a labor of love, obviously, rather than something put out there to extract more revenue from the client. The quality was there in the former, few and far between in the latter.

    2. J27 Silver badge

      Re: Red Hat decapitates another product

      They are owned by IBM after all.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Linux

    They will get a lot of support

    and then perhaps IBM/RedHat will think again.

    RH... cutting themselves off at the knees. Getting rid of CentOS will stop people recommending RHEL etc.

    The had a footgun moment with the end of Red Hat Linux. This is an even bigger one. Sad, real sad.

    Tux will never forgive IBM after this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      @ Steve Davies Re: They will get a lot of support

      IBM will not think again.

      IMHO IBM will never rethink this.

      They have a history of doing dumb things like this...

      Think about it.

      Enterprises need to have supported OS licenses for their production server.

      Guys like me who test and work on stuff in a SOHO lab can't afford to have supported licenses.

      So we tend to use CentOS because its close enough to what is run in the enterprise data centers.

      If they ditch CentOS, do you think I'm going to buy a license of RHEL? Heck no!

      I'll switch to another distro.

      I'll gladly flip to Rocky once its out. (Although it can cause issues w some of the software that I run because they look for RHEL/CENTOS and some others...

  4. Jurassic Hermit

    On the one hand I see corporate greed and neoliberals and the desire to Borg everything.

    On the other hand I see communists wanting a free ride and not valuing other people's hard graft.

    Put them under the same roof, more or less, the initial cracks will become chasms and it falls apart eventually, because the two values are fundamentally worlds apart and incompatible.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Let's try to explain this without your neoliberal/communist bollocks.

      FOSS software is licensed by those who write it under some form of licence (there's more than one, almost certainly more than one will be used by various components of a distro) which enables copying. This is not an accident, it's by design. In case you missed that let me repeat it: this is not an accident, it's by design. If you have comprehension difficulties feel free to read that until you understand it.

      That has several consequences.

      Firstly the material that Red Hat/IBM construct into RHEL will have come from multiple sources. Although they're a major contributor to Linux and to the many other pieces of software in a distro they're only one. Other people's contributions are used. And remember this is not an accident or mistake on the part of those other contributors, they intended this to happen. Also other distro maintainers also pick from the same smorgasbord of FOSS S/W to construct their offerings.

      Secondly, Red Hat/IBM offer the source of RHEL for redistribution. They have to - it was the terms on which they themselves used it which require this.

      Now if there's anything which you might possibly regard as cummunistic in this it's the offering of work on those terms. You have to shift "communists" not to those "wanting a free ride" but to those providing the "hard graft".

      TL;DR You have at arse about face.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " I see communists wanting a free ride and not valuing other people's hard graft."

      *valuing* as in *paying money* for it. Yet another beancounter who have no idea *why* people write open source software and thus miss *all* of the idea behind it.

      Greedy a**hole who won't admit any value outside holy dollar for anything, ever.

      I've written code and while I get paid to do something else, getting code you've written in use in millions of computers is a reward by itself. Sometimes people even acknowlegde it to me.

      How many dollars that's worth to you? Zero? So shut up about people "not valuing" the work, you've no fu**ing clue.

    3. walterp

      I read "graft" as "grift", I still think that I might not have been wrong...

  5. TVU Silver badge

    "One thing that Red Hat has not stated is why it is ceasing development of CentOS Linux"

    That's easy - to try to turn existing CentOS users into paying RHEL customers. I don't think such a crude measure will work though and it's perhaps more likely to send people over to Ubuntu and Debian.

    1. Allonymous Coward
      Linux

      Ubuntu is slightly better than Debian for this sort of thing*. We used to use it over Debian because it was free but there were commercial support offerings available for production if we needed them. And we did buy support contracts with Canonical at various points.

      This whole debacle feels like it could be a good validation of Canonical's business model.

      * yes I know there are other reasons people might prefer Debian, don't @ me.

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Devil

        FreeBSD anyone?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Quite.

          The more I use Linux these days (systemD, NetworkManager, Gnome3, etc.) the more I'm reminded why I like FreeBSD. Corporate shenanigans are simply another thing on the list.

          I was using FreeBSD (and some NetBSD) well before any of those new modern Linux contrivances existed, I hope to still be using it after I'm done with Linuxes, at least professionally.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >That's easy - to try to turn existing CentOS users into paying RHEL customers.

      That's easy, just revisit how the world went from proprietary OS's etc. to Unix and C in the 1980's.

      Remember compared to some of the proprietary OS's, Unix was a big step backwards in usability etc. However, because you could get graduates with Unix/C skills without the expense of retraining them...

      RedHat should ensure that CentOS is simply RHEL (Academic/Dev/Community) and market it as such.

  6. MattPi

    I think people are overreacting a bit

    I'm a centos user both at home and work. People are overreacting some (but not entirely). CentOS stream is just a RHEL-based rolling release distro, very similar to like Red Hat's own AppStream "release" of RHEL8.

    I don't see this as much of a deal as some, because CentOS doesn't support previous dot-releases anyway. One day, you're running (say) 8.1, and the next day CentOS 8.2 drops and you're not going to see another security update until you update to 8.2. Only difference here is Stream you see the updates continuously. If you really want to, I guess set up pulp or develop a local mirror system that you have all your prod stuff pull from and only sync after testing. I never got the impression that Centos stream was very "beta", more like Release Candidate.

    1. UK DM

      Re: I think people are overreacting a bit

      Does the proposed CentOS Stream package version number mirror the RHEL package version numbers?

      So if you don't want to be patch beta tester (re the upstream versus downstream of RHEL aspect), what happens if you always delay your CentOS Stream updates until they match the RHEL update?

      If version numbers never match someone can build index to compare source code inputs to translate.

      Will be interesting if Rocky is operational by Q3 2021 existing CentOS 8 installations can just run a script to reconfigure yum.conf to point all package locations at Rocky distro servers without needing to reinstall. Since all ABIs, package names and versions should be compatible.

      To me Fedora is meant to be in the Red Hat upstream distro space. Why don't they have a Fedora respin that mimics exactly the technical goals they are looking to achieve with CentOS Stream. In Fedora there is reign to add/remove entire suites, methods, subsystems. It is not clear at this point if that is a CentOS stream objective, I find that unlikely.

      I can only guess this is a short sighted commercial goal.

      The issue is that I can see Rocky attracting enough sponsorship to cover respin, build and distribution costs, all because Red Hat are unwilling to offer a low enough subscription model price to cover what CentOS is and what that market segment wants.

    2. chololennon
      Mushroom

      Re: I think people are overreacting a bit

      I will never use a "rolling" distro for a server, that's insane

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think people are overreacting a bit

      "CentOS stream is just a RHEL-based rolling release distro, "

      No, it's not *just* that. For several reasons:

      1) It isn't and won't be compatible

      2) It's by definition a *beta* software

      3) "Rolling release" is specifially something you do not want for production environment

      So every adjective you used to describe it, is wrong from actual production use point of view. OK, it' works for home machines or toying around but Fedora does that as well.

      So you just don't understand and, derived from that, think people are overreacting. Basically CentOS as production platform is dead, murdered by IBM. That's not a small thing.

  7. jwhackettuk

    centos-announce unsubscribe nuff said

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have been doing a bit of work with ansible lately, wondering if I should look elsewhere. Could it have a fate heading towards closed paid only.

    1. Allonymous Coward

      Ansible's open source, so I think this is Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt really. Someone can and almost certainly would fork it if that happened.

      There's a separate discussion to be had over whether Ansible as a tool is evolving in the right direction under Red Hat's ownership...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It seems like an open question whether tools "evolve" under Red Hat ownership, or whether they take a hard left (or backwards) turn sometimes.

        Full marks for bringing Linux into the mainstream back in the day, and showing the world you could make a go of it in business too.

        Since then Red Hat seem more interested in corporate profits than Linux stewardship and partnership with the opensource communities. That's fully within their rights of course, companies have a duty to shareholders (and executive bonuses) and all that; it does seem a bit myopic though.

        If, someday, IBM have wrung the last profitable bits out of Red Hat, and the Linux world has moved on to other distributions or OSes, I'll raise a glass. But I won't miss today's Red Hat overmuch.

  9. s2bu

    Oracle?

    I know Oracle is never to be trusted, but, Oracle Linux has been free for years and has actually been faster at updates than CentOS has.

    1. avakum.zahov

      Re: Oracle?

      Oracle? Are you sure? Free for now ... and tomorrow?

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Oracle?

      Free.. yep but for how long? With this move by IBM, there is a big opportunity to cash in $$$ wise from their Linux distro.

      Get them in and in a year or so, pull the same stunt. No updates unless you pay for a subscription. Something that Oracle are very good at already.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle?

      Worked with Oracle kit for 25 years and if I've learned one thing, they will leverage any opportunity to get cash from customers. Their most common trick is to enable something quietly in the software, update the docs to state it's now a paid option and then wait until they cycle back 12 months later and get you to do a software audit. Then they state, "We told you 12 months ago this was going to be a pid option! You owe us 12 months back dated payment."

      I've been through a severe Oracle audit, you're made to feel like the German army at the end of WWI. No matter what you did, no matter how small or by accident, it's going on the sheet as a crime against Oracle! You are a criminal to them and you will pay the reparations to them for the insult! Once Oracle know you can't be trusted you will be audited every 12 months as your company is now classed as "dodgy" to Oracle.

      So yes, I like OHEL, it's great for learning but I would never, ever use it in a production system unless I'd paid my full subs to Oracle first and then only if I'd been forced to.

  10. Cheshire Cat
    Stop

    IBM won't like that

    Rocky Linux? Taking potential RHEL cash-cows err, I mean, customers? Have to stop that!

    IBM lawyers incoming in 3.. 2.. 1...

    Tie them up in court over technicaltiies until they run out of money, that's the IBM way.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: IBM won't like that

      They don't have to like it. Providing they don't use any RH branding and artwork the licence on their source code allows this. That's why there were several previous clones which were abandoned in favour of Centos. It looks like history wll repeat itself.

      They can't, by the way, change the licence because the licence came attached to the components they built RHEL from.

  11. Jaap Aap

    Of course almost everybody is going to switch away from CentOS, or whatever.

    Red Hat does not seem to understand that they need to provide a valuable service to their customers. If you discern yourself that way people will notice.

    I've had some dealings with "service" providers, you would never call them unless you were drunk and didn't care any more, because they would always talk nonsense. Compare that to a customer experience where you feel pampered, because you did not have to explain your problem thrice, the service provider believed you, and provided a correct answer. And the service provider saved you days of looking for a solution.

    I was going to make a good point of this, but I'm at seven pints.

  12. tygrus.au

    If they wave the $$$ to buy it up ... run

    Never trust a big corporate to keep open source the same purpose, type/level of development & stay open.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter...

    ...if Red Hat reverses course now. They have broken the trust of the community.

    And ultimately, open source works on trust: Linux is neither a "de jure" nor "de facto" standard, but "de fides". The extent to which you can rely on *any* open source project is exactly the extent to which you trust the people running it - or in the case of catastrophe, or more trustworthy people to fork it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It doesn't matter...

      "They have broken the trust of the community."

      Case SUN, MySQL & Oracle.

      No-one believed a second Oracle would develop MySQL and of course they couldn't either as all the key persons left to write what became MariaDB later.

      Not long after that every distro offered MariaDB as default DB.

      IBM beancounters obviously didn't learn *anything* from that and are repeating similar stupidity ... while murdering RedHat Inc. and RHEL as a byproduct.

      Clueless greedy morons.

  14. hoola Silver badge

    Hmmm,

    We have just finished a project that has migrated from Scientific Linux to CentOS, Well over 4000 installations. Sure it is all scripted and managed BUT it it things like this that do nothing to further the cause of Open Source etc. The timeline to EOS is sooner than the EOL of about half of the installations.

    To do what we have with a commercial distribution is just not viable and would suck up valuable research money for what is essentially a piece of text adding no value as far as the user's of the system are concerned.

  15. Morat

    HALLELUIAGOBBLE

    Thank you! I wish Rocky Linux every success and hope to migrate when CentOS 7 goes EOL.

  16. DrReD

    What's all the fuss?

    I don't really understand all this commotion.

    Centos-stream 8 is just rh8.x/centos-8.x with slightly anticipated upgrades in between minor *point* *releases* of the very same OS version.

    It will just receive the single updates when they're ready and stable, instead of having to wait for the next all-encompassing point release.

    Nothing transcendental and nothing across major releases.

    I maintain this will make centos better and more useful. Certainly not worse.

    Plus, there are already free options to use RH straight away: the free developer license* and the freely redistributable Universal Base Images**.

    Moreover, right within the announcement RH also stated that they're working on further options, both free and paid.

    .

    1* https://developers.redhat.com/articles/faqs-no-cost-red-hat-enterprise-linux

    2* https://developers.redhat.com/products/rhel/ubi

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's all the fuss?

      > Moreover, right within the announcement RH also stated that they're working on further options, both free and paid.

      And you apparently believe them.

      That's at the heart of the bad situation Red Hat have created here -- trust. Many people feel, with some justification, that Red Hat (IBM?) pulled the rug out.

      E.g. had Red Hat announced Stream very promptly after CentOS 8.0, before even the early-adopters were fully committed to 8, or waited until 9 and left 8 updates availability unchanged, I expect some of the uproar and discontent wouldn't be happening now.

      Instead they did it right on the heels of 8.3, when 8 has been out long enough for some folks to already be invested in it or at least making plans, with the expectation of 10 years of support which had been announced.

      Now those people have to revisit their investment and plans, and they have about a year to sort it out -- not 10. And the available alternatives are not all equivalent to the prior status quo, for reasons others have already expressed.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: What's all the fuss?

        This. Precisely this.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: What's all the fuss?

          You can always spot 'em. No past history on other topics to hide behind. Straight in with a commercial point to support.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's all the fuss?

        "Many people feel, with some justification, that Red Hat (IBM?) pulled the rug out."

        Which they did, literally. Centos 8 EOL moved from 2029 to 2021. For any company larger than three people that's a showstopper, immediately.

        There's nothing you can do more to call it 'pulling the rug'.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What's all the fuss?

      "Centos-stream 8 is just rh8.x/centos-8.x with slightly anticipated upgrades in between minor *point* *releases* of the very same OS version.

      It will just receive the single updates when they're ready and stable, instead of having to wait for the next all-encompassing point release."

      You make it sound somewhat like Debian Testing vs Debian Stable. However, the people using Debian Testing are making a deliberate choice to run Testing for one reason or another (I've done that myself on occasion). The people running Centos are doing so because it's exactly the same as the the current stable. Not nearly the same. Exactly the same. Their reasons have been expressed quite clearly in many comments.

      Hmm. First post. Is the failure to understand the one famously explained by Upton Sinclair?

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: What's all the fuss?

        "Hmm. First post. Is the failure to understand the one famously explained by Upton Sinclair?"

        I'd say yes. Exactly.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's all the fuss?

      "Centos-stream 8 is just rh8.x/centos-8.x with slightly anticipated upgrades in between minor *point* *releases* of the very same OS version."

      BS. It's not *just* that. It's a beta software not compatible with RHEL and it gets updated apparently weekly.

      "Anyone running rolling update software in production is insane" ... and this commenter has words of wisdom here.

      So you don't have a clue at all: Won't possibly matter for the home user but most of them should use Fedora anyway.

  17. chololennon
    WTF?

    Back to the future

    So, with Rocky, we go back to 2014, before Centos slept with Red Hat. I have never understood that movement. The moral of this story is that you should never get involved with a big company that shares interest with you, you are doomed :-(

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have a look on YouTube at LearnLinuxTV and the video on My Thoughts on the CentOS news.

    He has some great points and has hit the nail on the head, saying things I know are true (I'd say as such, but on YT I can't be anon and I need to be). This is a money grab, pure and simple.

  19. Jonjonz

    I saw this coming back in 2014 when Red Hat started to "sponsor" CentOS.

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