RHEL 9 Releasing very soon, Rocky 9 beta?

This is a common question we’ve received over the past few months. The reason why there hasn’t been word or announcements on Rocky 9 is because of the new build system we are developing to target this release and future releases going forward. Most of the conversation is taking place in our mattermost where we are bootstrapping 9 and troubleshooting along the way, as well as deploying the build system. A lot of this has been limited to our free time (as we’re volunteers making this all happen). We are always looking for help in this arena troubleshooting build failures and discussing strategies.

We are presently preparing and building out the new build system and using that to develop all future Rocky versions, as well as enable the community to participate in driving the future development and usage of the build system as a whole. This new build system, named Peridot, will allow us to produce and release Rocky major and minor versions in a fairly quick fashion, likely much faster than we currently do today with our current koji infrastructure. We are super excited to introduce this build system publicly to everyone when it’s in production and building 9 as well as building for our upcoming sigs!

Some derivatives may be out before we are, and this to us is fine. We are looking at this from a perspective of quality. We want to make sure we build a quality release for our users, not the fastest one. We are also looking at it from an enablement perspective, where our community can use this same build system sort of like a Fedora COPR or participate in SIG’s and drive development opportunities for the Enterprise Linux ecosystem. I definitely understand the concern of our fellow users having to wait until they can use some release. I totally get that, I was once in the same camp as a CentOS user! It is very, very normal for derivatives of RHEL to take some time before they release a X.0. It could be a month, it could be more. Check out the CentOS and Oracle release dates alongside their RHEL equivalents for an idea. Whatever the case may be, once that is out, releasing the next minor version some time later should be a piece of cake! (It did take us about a week to release our 8.5 after red hat released theirs; I was quite happy we were able to achieve that)

The way I and others look at it is that even if another derivative is ahead of us, we want to ensure our release is in tip top shape with the given amount of time we do have to work on this project day to day outside of our daily lives. If we only had more than 24 hours in a day! We have a great community of users that are willing to wait as long as they can before our releases and we have a lot of folks in the testing arena ready for when we release something usable, whether it’s a beta, an RC, or the potential gold images for 9.0 stable. Our testing team has been spending a lot of time getting OpenQA ready for this too, which will be awesome when it’s fully running.

With that being said, since January we have been building and bootstrapping for every architecture for RHEL 9 (s390x and aarch64 are the current low hanging fruit), building out the new build system and ironing out bugs over time, and adding last minute features to actually produce usable media for our testers in the testing channel in mattermost.

As a side note, we’ve done very well in releasing updates quickly in the Rocky 8 releases. We usually release updates within 24-48 hours during the regular cycles and we release minor version updates (8.5 for example) within 5-7 days. This time frame is to be expected with Rocky 9 as well even if we manage to produce packages and images quicker, on top of automatic notification emails to our mailing list, a rebuilt errata system, and potential beta releases of our own (our current koji infrastructure does not make any of this easy, this is why we haven’t been able to release even a Rocky 8.6 beta, let alone use the current infra to bootstrap 9).

I hope this answers some of your questions.