Community Update - February 2021

Community Update - February 2021

Summary

Release engineering is on pace with the timelines previously documented to provide a release of Rocky Linux by Q2 2021. The infrastructure team is working on automation in their area to facilitate the deployment of build infrastructure in additional regions. We’ve finalized our sponsorship model, and are as well open to partnerships for deeper collaboration. We’ve drafted our organizational structure, as well as our community charter. Finally, we’ve secured authorization from The Linux Foundation to license Rocky Linux under the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation, which is the official legal entity that represents Rocky Linux and fosters its growth.

Timeline

In our previous update, we listed a number of items and gave dates to them. We remain committed to delivering an initial release of Rocky Linux by Q2. Here are what we listed previously, and where we stand with each:

  • Build systems and infrastructure readiness - January 31 [DONE]
  • Automatic package build infrastructures - January 31 [DONE]
  • Testing package repository made public - February 28 [In progress]
  • Installer testing readiness - February 28 [In progress]
  • ETA for length of time needed for community testing - March 31 [In progress]
  • Release candidate availability - March 31 [On Pace]

Legal

The Linux Foundation has granted us a sub-license to legally use “Linux’’ in the distribution’s name “Rocky Linux.” We have renamed the “Rocky Linux Foundation’’ (RESF) to the “Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation” and changed it to a Public Benefits Organization in Delaware.

Infrastructure

The build infrastructure for our first deployment in us-east-2 was completed and handed off to the Development team.

The next steps for the Infrastructure team is to ensure documentation (both internal and external) is accurate and up-to-date, and then to finalize the translation of the current infrastructure to automation tooling so we can replicate deployments to additional regions. These regions include Development, us-west-2, and GovCloud. Alerting automation is also in progress, so not only are we monitoring our metrics and syslogs, but when issues arise we are receiving the appropriate notifications to enable the team to respond accordingly in a timely manner. We continue to make progress toward an alternate build infrastructure to AWS and hope to have an announcement by the March community update.

Release Engineering and Packaging

The team is working on building packages and getting the processes ready to assemble the final release. This includes things like validating the operation of Pungi (repo/image compositions), and nailing the package build order. An overview of the build process can be found on our wiki. We’re seeking volunteers that can assist with debranding, so if this is an area you’d like to contribute, please reach out! An overview of the steps for debranding is on the wiki, with a more detailed guide to shortly follow.

Merchandise

Muckles Inc has begun shipping orders that have been placed, and people have started to receive those items. They were a little surprised by the huge amount of orders that were placed, so it has taken them a little bit longer to process those requests. We’re thankful for your patience, and of course they are still accepting new orders for Rocky Linux merch. Please share photos of your Rocky Linux merchandise with us on Twitter, the forums, or Mattermost!

Community

Community Charter

Responsibility to the community is critical to our success. To that end, we’ve published The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation Community Charter, and you can read that here. We consider our community charter one of our most important documents, as it communicates to the community what our principles, values, and intentions are. Our responsibility to the community is outlined in our charter; the community’s responsibility is to hold us accountable. We will be embedding this charter in the distribution of the core Rocky Linux operating system, ensuring the longevity and persistence of these principles.

FAQ

We’ve expanded upon and published a FAQ which addresses a number of questions that we’ve received. Questions such as “If Rocky Linux is just a respin of RHEL, what’s taking so long for a release candidate?” and “If you’re not just repackaging RHEL, then what exactly are you doing?” and more are all addressed. We will be adding to the FAQ over time based on questions the community surfaces.

Mattermost

The migration from Slack to Mattermost has been completed, and all of the legacy Slack channels have been archived. We’ve also set up a bridge from Mattermost to IRC, so if you’re in a Mattermost channel and you see [freenode] BOT , that’s what that’s about. On IRC, Mattermost messages will come from the rlf user, a username subject to change.

Lastly, be sure to check out the latest episode of “What Matters” a podcast by Mattermost where Community Manager Jordan Pisaniello sits down to discuss Rocky Linux.

Documentation

The Documentation team has been rapidly growing and has made great progress toward putting forward documentation of the highest quality, with a number of community members stepping up and taking ownership of the massive effort. The team is organizing around a number of topics, such as:

  • Translation
  • Security
  • Packaging
  • Editorial
  • Administration

and more. For the translation effort, we’re looking for volunteers to support the localization effort into non-English languages.

The team meets virtually once a month to plan and review progress, with scheduling discussed in advance in the Documentation channel.

Please join us on Mattermost and indicate the language or subject area you can assist with. You can also create an issue or pull request on Github to propose a new documentation topic or to help fix existing documentation.

Finally, we would like a special recognition of the Documentation Admin team—Calder Sheagren and Ezequiel Bruni—for helping to keep us organized and on-task.

Sponsors and Donations

We’ve finalized the levels for sponsorships, which provide various benefits based on annual commitments. The tiers and benefits are as follows:

Tier 1 - Principal Sponsors

  • “Principal Sponsor” level media kit and rights to use trademarks
  • Top placement of Company Logo on Sponsorship page
  • Includes a link to company’s website
  • 180 character summary of company
  • Rotating logo/link featured on our main landing page
  • Quote from the RESF leadership team to be included in companies marketing collateral about support for RESF
  • Collaboration with the RESF team on individualized case studies, white papers, webinars, or other material

Tier 2

  • “Tier 2” level media kit and rights to use trademarks
  • Inclusion of Company Logo on Sponsorship page
  • Includes a link to company’s website
  • 90 character company tagline
  • Quote from the RESF leadership team to be included in companies marketing collateral about support for RESF

Tier 3

  • “Tier 3” level media kit and rights to use trademarks
  • Inclusion of Company Logo on Sponsorship page
  • Includes a link to company’s website

Tier 4

  • “Tier 4” level media kit and rights to use trademarks
  • Inclusion of name in dedicated section on Sponsorship page
  • Includes a link to company’s website

We would also like to recognize 45drives and OpenDrives, who have recently signed on to be Principal Sponsors.

If either you or your organization is interested in sponsoring The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation, please contact us at sponsor@rockylinux.org.

We’d also like to send out a very special ‘thank you’ to the individuals who have donated! Your contributions are very much appreciated.

Finally, we have the option of forming partnerships with organizations. These are not based on any annual fee, but are instead geared toward ongoing collaboration and strategic initiatives. Contact us at partners@rockylinux.org if is something your organization would like to explore.

Organizational Structure

We believe in ensuring that all perspectives are heard and taken into consideration while maintaining a strong commitment to our vision, mission, goals, integrity, and values with the highest degree of transparency possible. We count on the community, contributors, donors, sponsors, and partners all to hold us accountable to our pledge.

The organization of RESF is composed of a tiered structure of teams, each including three primary roles: leads, deputies, and members. This ensures that all members have visibility and say into governance and decision making, ensuring equal representation across the organization. You can learn more about how we’ve structured ourselves here.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions, or if you would like to help out, feel free to discuss below or send a note to hello@rockylinux.org.

Sincerely,

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation
https://rockylinux.org

10 Likes

Thanks for the update!
i’m very impressed by the driving force of the community. no schedule is behind so far! :+1:
i have a few questions, though :

  1. while checking the debranding page i found the first link( git.centos.org/rpms/PACKAGE/) is not available. https://git.centos.org/ was accessable. are they the same data?
    2. do i have to get connections both github and gitlab? figured it out

Have a good day!

PACKAGE in the first link is a placeholder for the package name, so for example, if you want the git link for the apache web server you would use: http://git.centos.org/rpms/httpd/

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Thanks!!
i’m feeling more familiar with the “environment”. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
are there any pages that show which PACKAGES are occupied (i mean under debrand-processing by somebody) or untouched (need debranding)?

“is owned by shareholders who expect the company to make a profit, and return some of that money to them as dividends.”

“The shareholders of a benefit corporation actually own the company as well as its assets.”

fom Non-Profit Corporation vs Public Benefit Corporation

How this is in line with the FAQ answer:

“Rocky Linux will never be controlled, purchased, or otherwise influenced by a single entity or organization.”

@jorp Please explain the change from non-profit, the reasoning behind it, and assurances that the work of volunteers will not be used to benefit shareholders and investors more than the volunteers and the community.

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[I am not an attorney. The below is my interpretation.]

Rocky has to have legal standing. It can’t just exist in a utopian environment where everyone has all the same legal rights. Rocky is for the community, but that doesn’t mean that all members of the community have equal legal rights to owning everything about it. In order to protect trademarks, branding, properties, etc., it has to have a legal entity behind it. That’s the RESF (Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation). The RESF exists to represent and defend the various associated Rocky properties (such as the name, the website, the logo, etc). When we say that Rocky will never be controlled by a single entity or organization, we don’t mean that Rocky won’t have legal standing. That’s absurd. What we mean is that we’re preventing another company from taking over Rocky and selling out and giving the owners the ability to do whatever they want with that. It means we’re committing to transparency, community involvement, and what the community deems is in the best interest of the project.

The assurances we give the community are in the community charter.

We don’t have investors, or shareholders. We have sponsors and partners, but they can’t dictate what we do. They can’t pay some amount of money to get a seat on the board and then use that influence to shift direction or do something that would be detrimental to the community interest.

Who is ‘we’? The advisory board is made up of the team leads for each team. Collectively, that is the leadership team for Rocky.

Why not 501c3? We haven’t completely ruled this out. A B corp can transition to this just the same as a C corp can. After engaging legal counsel, we’ve determined it’s not the best approach at this time. But people seem to think that a 501c3 is some kind of magic organizational structure that automatically guarantees that the entity will be transparent and ‘good’ or ethical. In reality, it’s the commitment the entity makes to the community and their structure that help give this assurance.

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Thank you for these explanations so far. I fully agree that the legal entity is needed. I am concerned a little about the “benefit” part. A non-profit is also a legal entity that can serve all of needs you have mentioned. However, regardless, I am more concerned about the forum/website pledges instead of legally-bounding pledges.

If transparency is one of your goals (which is very welcome and appreciated), please provide 3 important details regarding the corporation, which could be crucial to know for someone who decides to sponsor or volunteer work to the Rocky:

  1. what are the corporate articles. For example, we could learn what are the detailed company pledges/goals written into the founding documents that the shareholders cannot force out.

  2. you have mentioned that ‘we’ refer to the team leaders. However, it does not explain if by ‘we’ you refer to the Board or to the shareholders of assets. So the governing and ownership structure would be appreciated. (The percent of ownership, i.e, the future dividends split would be informative for the comunity)

  3. Is there a legal mechanism to prevent what you say:

and a legal mechanism to assure in the future that:

If the RESF owns name, logo and the domain of the Rocky Linux, it means that de facto it is “controlling” the Rocky. This is perfectly OK and welcome, however, under one condition. That the structure and governing of the RESF is transparent (in terms of governing, statutes and fiances) and the community knows that there is no narrow set of people that would benefit personally from certain decisions or the community knows that such decisions are explicitly banned by the articles of the company. You say that you don’t have investors. However, telling from the experience, it is bound to change if there is no legal framework to prevent it.

In summary, I fully believe in great intentions and what you all say and pledge, on the forums in FAQs and in the Community charter, and I am very happy that you put work into the project. However, at the same time, it also requires showing some hard/legally bounding papers to the community (who also puts work in), beside the pledges alone. Note that the charter explicitly states: “voluntarily accountable to this charter”.

Exactly as you wrote here:

Those commitments and structure are not bounding when written in forums but in legalese.

Speaking - I believe - for the entire community: Thanks in advance for revealing a little more about the structure, governing and ownership of RESF.
JanS

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There are none. We have what we’ve published in the community charter.

Again, there are no shareholders. There are no shares. None have been issued, so they do not exist. The team leads make up the advisory board.

The legal mechanisms are afforded according to the filing of the B Corp.

We’re open to having independent third parties perform audits of our finances and present a report to the community. That’s something we’ll be doing.

The structure and governance is listed in the team structure and community charter. That’s what we have in place. I understand this may not be enough for some people. If you feel like this is not enough for you, I respect and appreciate your thoughts, and so in that case I would recommend you do what feels most comfortable to you.

I guess I’m not entirely clear on what you’re looking for, exactly. I think I would disagree that putting intentions into ‘legalese’ enforces some kind of ethical and transparent behavior. That’s ultimately a philosophical debate, perhaps. I suppose I would ask that people judge us by our actions. Who can’t think of a non-profit or other entity that has great sounding ‘legalese’ in place that is also astoundingly corrupt?

Ultimately, we’ve decided against 501c3 at this time. We’re open about our org structure, and we’ve communicated our intentions in the community charter. We will be doing independent third party audits of our finances and will be presenting those reports to the community. We feel those actions, along with registering the RESF as a public benefit B Corp, is the most accountable and transparent way forward. I understand some may disagree, and I respect those perspectives.

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Chinese translation:Rocky Linux 社区更新-2021年2月 | Rocky Linux 中文社区

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