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Rocky Linux is the Trusted Successor to CentOS

Broad Industry Support, Compatibility, and Value

What is Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux is a free, open source operating system that is 100% binary compatible with RHEL. Now the fastest-growing Enterprise Linux distribution, Rocky Linux is widely adopted in enterprise and High Performance Computing (HPC) environments, as well as by leading cloud providers and hyperscalers. This ensures security, compatibility, stability, and scalability for enterprise and mission-critical applications.

“A little over a year ago, Rocky Linux arrived, and it was an instant hit.”

— Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor, ZDNet

Rocky Linux Benefits

Rocky Linux Adoption

A chart showing Rocky Linux as the leading Enterprise Linux 8 & 9 Instances by Distribution per EPEL

According to the latest metrics tracked by the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) Special Interest Group (SIG),
Rocky Linux adoption is outpacing all other Enterprise Linux variants.

History of Rocky Linux

When it comes to technology, it’s easy to become jaded. And there are good, self-protective reasons to be jaded.

A question: Do you remember that original Linux feeling? You may have been early to the Linus Torvalds party. Or maybe you’ve only recently arrived. But the feeling is the same:

“You mean I can download something for free that I can actually build stuff with?” 

Yes. It is experiences like this for which the word “cool” exists. You know what we’re talking about.

Gregory Kurtzer, our CEO and the creator of open source Rocky Linux—named to honor “Rocky” McGaugh, one of the most important programmers involved with the development of CentOS—understands that feeling.

He’s built that sense of wonder, freedom, and empowerment into the code. And now a large and rapidly growing community is working and collaborating in that spirit.

Rocky Linux founder, Gregory Kurtzer

“… Every Rocky Linux release is built 100% in the open, by the community, for the community. They ship with all of our infrastructure and secure material like keys and secure boot shims being managed by the RESF.”

— Gregory Kurtzer, Rocky Linux Founder and CIQ CEO

A Bedrock Commitment to Independence

It is easy to see that Rocky Linux is built for and by the community. The proof is in our actions. Rocky Linux isn’t released as just a bunch of binaries, repos, and ISO image installers; we release everything someone would need to replicate all of that work. Why is that important? Confidence. Transparency. Community. Trust. Security. You.

Why is that important? One key reason: Reproducibility. To quote Gregory Kurtzer: 

“Anyone can create, build, enhance, and manage Rocky Linux as we do.” 

And Peridot helps to facilitate quick and seamless releases of new versions of the Rocky Linux distribution, as well as routine maintenance software updates and security patches. 

Let’s review: The very open source tool used by the Rocky Linux community to make the operating system better—or to even reproduce it from scratch—is free and fully available to… you. If that doesn’t give you some original Linux feels, nothing will. 

Robert Adolph: Co-Founder of CIQ; CIQ is a primary Rocky Linux backer.

We believe that open source software should never be held hostage. A Linux distribution delivers all of the work from the open source community and combines it into a usable platform, and is thus the steward of all of the community’s work. It should always be free and belong to the community from which it came. It is our job to create value and make it better.

— Robert Adolph, Chief Product & Revenue Officer & Co-Founder




What is Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux is an open source operating system developed by the Rocky Linux community and based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is intended to be the successor to CentOS and a drop-in replacement for RHEL, giving customers access to a dependable, secure, and scalable operating system for private or professional usage.

Why was Rocky Linux created?

Rocky Linux was produced in response to the discontinued support of CentOS, a prominent community-driven and open source version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The purpose of Rocky Linux is to create a completely compatible, open source version of RHEL that anyone could use, modify, and distribute.

Why is Rocky Linux called Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux is named in honor of Rocky McGaugh, who was an early CentOS co-founder alongside Gregory Kurtzer.

What is Rocky Linux based on?

Rocky Linux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is a community-driven effort with the objective of producing an open source, completely compatible version of Enterprise Linux that has rapidly become the trusted successor to CentOS.

What is the benefit of Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux offers a variety of advantages to users, including enterprise-level stability, security, and compatibility with existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) packages and applications.

Is Rocky Linux free?

Rocky Linux is open source and free, meaning its operating system is available for download, use, modification, and distribution by anyone without charge or restriction other than the BSD 3-Clause License.

Are Rocky Linux and RESF the same thing?

Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is a legal foundation dedicated to maintaining and hosting open source software. Rocky Linux is currently its main project. RESF works to protect the open source nature of Rocky Linux.

What is the relationship between CIQ and Rocky Linux?

CIQ is the official founding support and services partner and sponsor of Rocky Linux. CIQ provides technical support such as Rocky Linux installation and configuration, training, systems maintenance, custom development, and more. CIQ’s CEO, Gregory Kurtzer, is the also founder of Rocky Linux.

Who owns Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux is an open source project that is developed by the community; as a result, it is not controlled by any one individual or entity. A worldwide group of volunteers and contributors work together to create and maintain Rocky Linux. The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) oversees Rocky Linux (among other projects) to assure its quality and long-term viability.

Who supports Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux is an open source operating system supported by its community. This sizable and growing community includes sponsor/partner organizations such as CIQ and Amazon Web services, as well as an army of users, enthusiasts, and interested technology professionals who all contribute to the creation and maintenance of Rocky Linux.

How long will Rocky Linux be supported?

The support lifecycle for Rocky Linux is 10 years. This means that each major version will be supported for 10 years after its release. Rocky Linux 8 will be supported from 2021 (inception) to 2029. Rocky Linux 9 was released in 2022, and will reach end-of-life in 2032. Beyond this, CIQ offers extended support options for Rocky Linux.

Is Rocky Linux the same as Red Hat?

No, Rocky Linux and Red Hat are not the same. Although Rocky Linux is designed to be completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Red Hat, Inc. does not manufacture or provide support for Rocky Linux.

Is Rocky Linux the same as RHEL?

Rocky Linux and RHEL are two separate entities. However, Rocky Linux is bug-for-bug compatible with RHEL.

What is CentOS being replaced with?

The trusted replacement for CentOS is Rocky Linux. Rocky Linux is an Enterprise Linux distribution created by Gregory Kurtzer, the co-founder of CentOS, with the intent to create a true open source Linux distribution that is bug-for-bug compatible with CentOS.

What is Rocky Linux equivalent to?

Rocky Linux is the successor of CentOS Linux and is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code. It is designed to be compatible with both operating systems.

Is Rocky Linux the same as CentOS?

Rocky Linux is not the same as CentOS Linux. It is a separate Linux distribution. However, it is the successor to CentOS, created to maintain a true open source Enterprise Linux distribution.

Why should I choose Rocky Linux?

Rocky Linux provides a stable platform, enterprise-level of security, scalability, and complete compatibility through a free, open source operating system. It is made to be highly customizable and is supported by a growing community. In addition, providers like CIQ offer paid support for the development and deployment of Rocky Linux systems.

What is the future of Rocky Linux?

The future of Rocky Linux is promising. It continues to gain popularity among enterprise users and developers due to its open source nature, compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and commitment to using best practices in software development, including the open source Peridot build system.

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“Open source communities encourage innovation through collaboration. Without it, many of the technologies we take for granted today would never have developed, or would be locked away behind patent law. In deploying Rocky Linux, we are returning to true open source principles.”

— Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony

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