Rocky Linux developers raise $ 26 million for enterprise open source push

CIQ has raised $ 26 million to support plans to expand the use of Rocky Linux in enterprise spaces.

Last year, Red Hat decided to discontinue support for CentOS 8 and shifted its focus to CentOS Stream. CentOS had huge enterprise users such as Disney, GoDaddy, RackSpace, Toyota and Verizon.

In response, Greg Kurtzer, one of the founders of CentOS, launched Rocky Linux in December 2020. Seven months later, the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) released the first stable release of RockyLinux 8.4.

And now, CIQ, the company of Kurtzer, the founding sponsor and service partner of Rocky Linux, has secured $ 26 million in Series A funding led by TwoBear Capital. According to Kurtzer, this is CIQ’s previously raised $ 33 million “Lion Share.”

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This investment follows the partnership between CIQ and Google Cloud to provide customers with support for Rocky Linux issues.

According to Kurtzer, Rocky Linux adoption is “large”, with monthly OS image downloads typically 250,000 and reaching 750,000 in bumper months.

“Within two months, 10,000 developers and contributors tried to get involved in this project, too many for such a young project,” says Kurtzer. “It doesn’t help if there are 10,000 people we want to help,” he jokes.

Prior to the release of Rocky Linux, CIQ was developing a platform for enterprise high performance computing (HPC), HPC centers, and people running AI and ML in the cloud.

“Among them, Red Hat has shortened the life of CentOS. For at least the last decade, it has been one of the leading operating systems used in enterprises, clouds, VMs and containers. Red Hat announces CentOS. At that point, my life was over and I found my career useful to start over and do it right, “Kurtzer explains.

Kurtzer is also aware of the types of open source licenses used as a key differentiator in the enterprise software space.

“We are very open source and usually prefer non-copyleft licenses. We usually prefer MIT and BSD licenses. Everything we release will be MIT or BSD,” Kurtzer says. ..

He believes that most companies treat open source like a “marketing stunt” and get more adoption.

“But they control and own it. They will take it hostage to some extent. A true open source community should not be controlled by a single company. That’s what we do. It’s a strong belief that I have, “says Kurtzer.

“In our view, we need to be prepared for the idea that if an organization open source certain software, competitors and other companies may make more money or succeed in open source projects. There is. “He said.

“Up to that point, it really makes sense for an organization to open source something, so if your organization isn’t ready for it, don’t open source it and leave it closed source. “

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The next agenda item for the Rocky Linux project is an operating system build system called Peridot, which ensures that Rocky Linux has the latest Linux kernel. Kurtzer adds that most Rocky Linux contributors prefer to build an OS with the Google-created programming language Golang.

With the support of Greg Kroah-Hartman, the maintainer of the stable Linux kernel on the mainline, the project meets the community’s desire to run Rocky Linux on a more modern and optimized kernel, Kurtzer said. Says.

Kroah-Hartman leads the Rocky Linux Special Interest Group (SIG) for kernels to create optional extended kernels for Rocky Linux.

“He works closely with us to make sure that the kernel we use is blessed by him. A bug has occurred and he can help us manage that kernel on Rocky Linux. So he’s in a loop, “says Kurtzer.

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