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Meet Rocky Linux: New RHEL Fork by the Original CentOS Creator

CentOS is a fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and undoubtedly a popular choice to deploy on production servers because of its rock solid stability and compatibility.

But, now with CentOS Stream, Red Hat just killed CentOS as we know it. And as expected, people started to fork Red Hat to give a viable community based alternative to RHEL.

A Brief Recap of the “CentOS Stream” Episode

In case you didn’t know, let me give you a quick overview:

CentOS was a community-driven project which was the fork of RHEL and acted as a downstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Soon after IBM acquired Red Hat, a CentOS Stream distribution was introduced as an upstream for RHEL.

Now, in a shocking move, the CentOS governing board and Red Hat announced that they will be shifting their focus (and investments) to CentOS Stream instead of the CentOS Linux.

So, with CentOS Linux shifting direction from a downstream project to an upstream platform, what are your options?

You can opt for openSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu or maybe another RHEL fork by the original CentOS creator?

Yes, that is what Rocky Linux is all about!

Rocky Linux: A Brand New Community Enterprise OS forked from RHEL

Gregory M. Kurtzer, who happens to be the creator of CentOS Linux does not seem to like the “shift in direction” for CentOS Linux as announced officially by Red Hat.

Gregory Centos

A GitHub page (now redirects to Rocky Linux repo) was created by none other than Gergory himself to announce it:

Rocky Linux Centos

Here’s what Kurtzer aims with Rocky Linux:

Rocky Linux is a community enterprise Operating System designed to be 100% bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux now that CentOS has shifted direction.

Of course, with CentOS Linux being an upstream to Red Hat Enterprise Linux soon, many will be forced to switch to SUSE or Ubuntu Enterprise, even if they do not like it.

In that case, Rocky Linux could be the perfect replacement for CentOS Linux 7/8 users after the support ends, if things go right.

Things are already in motion and a team has been formed to work on it.


Rocky Linux is not a name out of the blue but derived from CentOS’s original co-founder Rocky McGaugh. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us. So, this name serves as a tribute to his work.

Closing Thoughts

Now that the CentOS community is upset and not happy with the decision by Red Hat, Rocky Linux could actually make a difference.

Don’t just take my word for it, you will find several comments on CentOS’s blog post and also a petition to stop destroying CentOS Linux.

No one wanted CentOS to be an upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and with the news of Rocky Linux by the creator of CentOS Linux, the community could witness something bigger.

Hopefully, Rocky Linux won’t end up being acquired by another big organization and fall for “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” trap.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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