Rocky Linux Foundation

Agree. People behind the project need funding. Companies that rely on the OS will be willing to support it as their infrastructure depends on it.

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We need something similar for Germany. I know a couple of companies that are really pissed by CentOS decision.

They are willing to donate – but only if it is tax deductible.

Anybody willing to help? Need 7 people to start.

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I think you should only bother with a foundation if you can prevent certain large corporations from doing another corporate capture of the ‘board’. Any non-profit should be governed strictly by a single page document and automate all donation->payment pipeline for services (no people).

Maybe a pipe dream, but otherwise how do you prevent someone from RH from getting on the board again and destroying REL?

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I spent several years in nonprofit administration from that it has been my experience that forming a foundation/nonprofit is critical to successful long term projects that aren’t designed to remain centered around a single person or groups of people. This kind of infrastructure can also open up options that don’t exist for “groups” and provide stability and continuity in the face of someone disappearing or becoming incapacitated.

There are many ways that a foundation could be made to work for Rocky Linux, and chief amongst them would be having a clear, adopted, and enforced conflict of interest policy for anyone with voting powers, with annual disclosures. The content and terms of such a policy can generally be up to the organization, but the idea here would be to catch and remediate situations where a theoretical Rocky Linux Foundation Board started to become heavily weighed with employees of any given company, for example.

(To be clear I’m not an attorney, and this isn’t intended as legal advice.)

I’d be glad to discuss getting involved, for what that is worth.

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You can’t. See how corrupt the ICANN is just to name one example. Most non-profits are only that in paper. People are still people and any organization will only work as good or bad as the people behind them. Same for a private corporation, makes no different if the organization is for profit or not.

You just need to trust the leadership behind it and make sure no single entity can take over.

Without a non-profit, it will be impossible to obtain adequate funding to keep the project alive long term.

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Do we have consensus on the following so far?

  1. it is a good idea to establish a way that allows donations/funding
  2. it should be a non-profit organization
  3. there is a need to prevent hostile attacks on the project (is this requirement related to donations/funding?)
  4. it is unclear who is supposed to administer (own) the non-profit organization
  5. it is unclear whether the form should be a Foundation or another maybe simpler form

Did I forget something?
Toni

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1: I am not even sure it’s a good idea more than a requirement, as unless there is a distributed computing build and storage system, there is no way to actually build or deliver the product.

Re: 3: yes, it would be related to funding as often those who bring funds gain power.

Good summary of the situation so far, though. Thanks.

On the subject of protection (3.), I have added a new idea in this forum:

Maybe there are better ideas? Please share.

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  1. it is a good idea to establish a way that allows donations/funding

Yes. From a sustainability standpoint a distinct legal entity is a must-have.

  1. it should be a non-profit organization

For the purposes of this discussion I assume this entity would be based in the U.S.? (That’s where my experience is domiciled). To be clear, in the U.S. there are a few different kinds of nonprofits, and Foundations and nonprofits aren’t necessarily interchangeable. A Foundation usually denotes a nonprofit organization that sources contributions from a smaller pool of funding, for example one or two companies, a family, a single donor. So I think we ultimately are talking about forming a nonprofit versus a foundation?

  1. there is a need to prevent hostile attacks on the project (is this requirement related to donations/funding?)

This has a lot to do with #2. Funding of the organization is a tactical control consideration (e.g. if the money dries up, the bills can’t be paid this month), but strategically, protecting the Board from unwanted influence is the strongest protection for the organization. These are two tacts that work together.

Board members by default in many U.S. jurisdictions are required by law to put the best interests of the organization first, which is why it’s important for them not to be conflicted, and having a larger board helps to ensure that the board is empowered to prevent rogue members from becoming detrimental.

For example, strategically if doesn’t matter where the money comes from if the board itself “gets bought” and tactically it doesn’t matter what the board decides if we can’t pay the bills and our vendors close our accounts.

  1. it is unclear who is supposed to administer (own) the non-profit organization

I sort of assume Greg Kurtzer would be an initial incorporator of the legal entity, but that is obviously up to him. Thankfully nonprofits are not exactly owned, so once a board is elected, whatever governance structure we put into place, if well executed, will safeguard against that kind of attack.

  1. it is unclear whether the form should be a Foundation or another maybe simpler form

See above for my other point about this.

Regarding the Community protection by Democracy ideas, these are good starting thoughts. Generally an organization can arrange how its decisions are made in any way it likes that don’t interfere with whatever requirements are set in the relevant jurisdictions’ laws on how nonprofit organizations may function. It would be important to get legal advice in how the board is structured and what other groups have what kind of power, so that down the road we don’t end up outsmarting ourselves.

My original disclaimer applies.

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I’m willing to help on this effort

What exactly do you want/need to start? Something like eV?

Bin dabei / Let’s do this.

There should be a provisional financial section for the organisaton page:


maybe a crowd funding project as well?
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I wanted to point out that @Leigh has made some good points in the related thread by @ToniFeric, Community protection by Democracy, that, if I may be so bold as to paraphrase – these are important things to think about, but we still have a lot of work to do before we have something worth protecting.

I expect that active discussion of these kinds of concerns will start to form in the #rocky-legal channel in Slack over time, so I’d encourage everyone with their eyes on this to join in there and when those conversations happen in Slack, we can discuss in-the-moment too. I’m not in any way trying to end this conversation, I just wanted to bring what was happening elsewhere into this thread. :slight_smile:

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Obviously currently ‘we’ are in a (speed) build up of the project and Greg is lead in this. When things start to get shaped, it would be healthy to put this ‘role’ to a function and not to a person or persons.
(so much for the benevolent dictator for life scenario)

It is a great idea to allow people and organizations to donate for a great cause like this. I’m in!

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I would rather wait and see how everything here is organized before investing money. I’m not entirely sure how open or democratic things are going to be in the future. CentOS was truly community by name but not really by developing and organization. And it seems some decisions so far are made without voting or community feedback from most users and are just decided by one or two individuals in the project. That is concerning if some people expect here to be actively working or sharing their time but in the end decisions are not made based on the community as a whole but just a tiny group of people.

If the whole project is under a few overlords then it’s not really different from just using something sponsored by a major company like Oracle Linux or the upcoming CloudLinux. If Rocky Linux is going to be truly community based (let’s hope that…) I’m not seeing enough asking in terms of feedback and organization to the general users here so far. All I’m aware is who started this but I have little to no idea who else is involved so far and making decisions. While it’s nice to see how optimist some people here are, in particular great ideas about how the foundation should work, something tells me it will not be that open and democratic as most of us expect. There is a reason Red Hat was able to take over CentOS in the first place, and if Rocky Linux is organized the same way it will be the same story in a couple of years. I rather wait how open everything will be before thinking about donations or major contributions.

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@netz
Hi Volker!
Thanks for ringing the alarm bell, I think that we (the Community) should keep your long-term concerns in mind.

As you know, the Rocky Linux project is in its 1st week of existence.
What I understand so far is that the Community Managers and the Community want to deliver a working distro a.s.a.p., and rumors are that could be around 2021Q1/Q2.

The sentiment I am getting from the discussion here is like “Yes, we need to find a way to protect the Project against what has happened to CentOS, but we’ll figure that out later”.

I would also like to cite Gregory Kurtzer (@gmk) about democratizing this Community (from Slack):

This is a great thread, and apologies for my latency. At the moment, and until the landscape is better understood, I will maintain the lead of Rocky Linux. This may change in the future, but for now I believe this is best for the project and the community.
My commitment is to the project and keeping the project open and free from commercial interest (even from my own company). I’m not saying that organizations shouldn’t monetize on Rocky Linux, quite the opposite, but the decisions for the project should always be in the best interest of the project and community of users. To the best of my ability, I will always ensure that happens or I will step down.
https://hpcng.slack.com/archives/C01GM1MH5U4/p1607655382488900?thread_ts=1607637371.399200&cid=C01GM1MH5U4

I think it is a good idea to deliver a working distro first, and then democratize it (hopefully) later.

Organizations using CentOS need a replacement for EL 8 before end of 2021. That’s a deadline set by the circumstances.

In the current situation (still in week 1), there is no guarantee that the Project will become as open as desired (and as necessary), but the Community managers appear to have noble intents.

Donating/investing early is always riskier than investing late, but at the same time, early dollars are more powerful.

At this time, I am optimistic about this project, and that’s why I chose to support it.

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Did it really have to be Rocky Linux? It is good to pay tribute to the other colleague who helped create one of the best distributions that linux has had, but when hearing the name, the Rocky movie saga does not stop coming to mind and frankly, I can’t finish it take seriously, at least the name, to put it in a serious undertaking. “Hey look, we are such a company in which we have invoiced more than € 2,000,000 per year and our clients still invoice more than we do, we believe in an IT team that knows how to offer themselves the support of the entire system but they have installed Rocky Linux”. I don’t know, just let the community choose the name.

PS: Thankful you have to be with the community for the effort they want to make a new fork, thank you very much community!