Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation Elects Project Boards for Rocky Linux, Peridot

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RENO, Nev.—March 10, 2023—The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) today announced the inaugural projects and project boards that will initiate the work of the foundation. The officially hosted projects—Rocky Linux and Peridot—were named and respective project boards were elected on January 16 at the first annual meeting of the newly elected RESF board.

The elections of the initial project boards were made in accordance with Section 5 of the RESF Foundation Bylaws. Quorum was achieved with no more than one-third of the board representing a single company, as required by Section 2.18 of the bylaws.

  • Minutes of the RESF board of directors meeting of January 16, 2023

  • Structure of the RESF board of directors

The Rocky Linux Project

Rocky Linux is an open source enterprise operating system designed to be 100 percent bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It was created by Gregory Kurtzer, one of the founders of CentOS, to achieve the original goals of CentOS as a production-ready downstream version of RHEL. Rocky Linux uses only open source tools to deliver a completely reproducible operating system, ensuring there is no repeat of the CentOS end-of-life issues.

The Rocky Linux project carries four seats on the RESF board of directors. Taylor Goodwill, Neil Hanlon, Sherif Nagy and Christopher Stackpole will represent Rocky Linux with two-year seats (2023-2024) on the RESF board of directors, as elected by the Rocky Linux project board. The Rocky Linux project board comprises the following members:

  • Louis Abel is a system engineer who started his Linux journey in 2005. He has been in the Enterprise Linux world in both personal and professional capacities for almost a decade and a half, with interests ranging from automation and system hardening to  security and identity management. Abel is a Rocky Linux co-founder, has been a part of almost all engineering initiatives across the project, and has been a co-lead of the release engineering team since the inception of the project.

“I’ve been part of Rocky Linux since the very beginning, and we’ve done some amazing work with amazing folks whom I’ve come to value and cherish my time with,” said Abel. “Looking forward, I’m excited to see where Rocky Linux goes and how the RESF can better help the enterprise software community by supporting and being part of even more projects.”

  • Brian Clemens, based in Tokyo, is a co-founder of Rocky Linux and the RESF. He has been the distribution’s project manager since its inception. Prior to his involvement with the project, Clemens served as a signals intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, and he currently works as a technical account manager at CIQ. Clemens has been passionate about free and open source software since installing Fedora Core 4 in 2005 and still regards Bluecurve with undeserved fondness.

  • Mustafa Gezen is a software engineer at CIQ, working in Norway. He is pursuing an integrated masters degree in Medical Informatics at UiT Arctic University of Norway. Gezen has been part of the Rocky Linux release engineering team from the beginning and is a co-lead for that team. He has been leading the development of projects such as srpmproc, distrobuild, Peridot and Apollo.

“I was surprised to see the engagement around Rocky Linux when it was first announced and decided to see if I would be able to help out with the efforts,” said Gezen. “Since then I’ve been able to work with some of the smartest people and people that have a deep passion for open source work. I am incredibly proud of what the team has been able to accomplish.”

  • Taylor Goodwill is a seasoned systems engineer, architect and manager, with over 25 years of experience working with Linux. He currently works for a SaaS company, where he designs and manages complex systems. Goodwill has been involved as a lead and a contributor with the Rocky Linux infrastructure team since its inception.

  • Neil Hanlon is a seasoned Linux developer with over a decade of experience in the field. In addition to being a founding member of the RESF, Hanlon serves as the infrastructure team lead for Rocky Linux and a member of the release engineering team. Hanlon also plays an integral role in the development and maintenance of Peridot, a robust and scalable open source build system built at the RESF. Hanlon is passionate about contributing to open source projects such as OpenStack-Ansible and actively engages with the Linux and open source community as a Fedora packager.

“I am honored to serve as a board member for Rocky Linux and to be a part of this community effort to provide a stable and secure Linux distribution,” said Hanlon. “The RESF board represents a new chapter in the evolution of Rocky Linux and our dream for open source, transparent development. I’m excited to continue to contribute my expertise to this project and work alongside our dedicated worldwide team of developers to deliver consistent, stable releases for years to come.”

  • Gregory Kurtzer is a 20-plus-year veteran in Linux, open source, and high performance computing. He is well known in the HPC space for designing scalable, secure, and easy-to-manage architectures for innovative performance-intensive computing while working for the U.S. Department of Energy with a joint appointment to the University of California, Berkeley. Kurtzer has created multiple successful companies and is presently the CEO and founder of CIQ. In open source, he has founded, co-founded, and been project lead of several large projects such as CentOS Linux, the Warewulf and Perceus cluster toolkits, the container system Singularity (now renamed to Apptainer), and most recently, the successor to CentOS, Rocky Linux.

  • Sherif Nagy has been involved with open source and GNU/Linux systems via EGLUG, the Egyptian GNU/Linux user group, since 2004, providing various kinds of volunteer support to the GNU/Linux and open source community in Egypt. Nagy believes in the power of open source and open knowledge sharing. He brings in excess of seventeen years’ experience as a GNU/Linux user, having worked professionally since 2005 both as a GNU/Linux systems administrator and with other open source solutions.

“What I like about Rocky Linux is that it is developed in the open, has a welcoming community, strong focus and transparency,” said Nagy. “Rocky Linux is a fine example of how open source projects should be built, run and rolled out to the communities.”

  • Wale Soyinka is a system administrator and open source evangelist. He has authored a collection of textbooks and other training materials covering Linux, networking and Windows administration. Soyinka participates in numerous open source ventures, projects and discussions.

  • Christopher “Stack” Stackpole is a self-described nerd who fell in love with Linux in the late 1990s then also fell in love with High Performance Computing. He has since merged the two for fun and profit for twenty years. As the Rocky Linux testing team lead, Stackpole’s goal is to ensure the community gets the best release possible as close to upstream as possible with as few issues as possible. This is done by doing whatever is needed to support the community members who contribute their time and resources to doing all the real work on the testing team.

The Peridot Project is an open source, cloud-native build and release system tailored to building, releasing and maintaining Enterprise Linux distributions and forks. Peridot helps assure that new versions of Rocky Linux can be released within one week of new RHEL version releases. Moreover, anyone can use Peridot to reproduce Rocky Linux on their own, should they wish to do something independently of the Rocky Linux community or any upstream supporting organization.

“Peridot is the next generation of building Enterprise Linux distributions and represents a significant step forward in the Rocky Linux community’s ability to build, compose and release a stable downstream distribution, year after year,” said Hanlon. “At the RESF, we recognized the need for a more robust and scalable build system that met the requirements of our community and aligned with our goals–particularly around supply chain security. With Peridot, we have achieved that and more.”

The Peridot project board of directors comprises Mustafa Gezen, Neil Hanlon and Sherif Nagy. The Peridot project carries one seat on the RESF board of directors; Gezen will represent Peridot with a two-year seat (2023-2024) on the RESF board, as elected by the Peridot project board of directors.

The RESF welcomes any open source projects that need a neutral ground to operate to make the RESF their home. No association with Rocky Linux is necessary to join the RESF. Projects do not need to be Linux related, but they must be open source. Entities interested in bringing their open source projects to RESF can contact for more information.