Gregory Kurtzer, co-founder of the now-defunct CentOS Linux distribution, has created a new startup company called Ctrl IQ, which will serve in part as a sponsorship company for the upcoming Rocky Linux distribution.
Rocky Linux will benefit from Ctrl IQ’s revenues, not its source — the company describes itself in its announcement as the providers of a “complete technology stack that leverages the core capabilities of enterprise, hyper-scale, cloud and high-performance computing.” integrates.”
About Rocky Linux
If you’ve been hiding under a Linux rock for the past few months, CentOS Linux was the most well-known and used clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Kurtzer co-founded CentOS Linux in 2004 with mentor Rocky McGaugh, and it operated independently for 10 years until it was acquired by Red Hat in 2014. When Red Hat killed CentOS Linux in a highly controversial announcement in December 2020, Kurtzer immediately announced his intention to recreate CentOS with a new distribution named after his late mentor.
The Rocky Linux concept received immediate positive response from the community, but there is an enormous amount of work and expense involved in creating and maintaining a Linux distribution. The CentOS Linux project itself made that clear when it went for the Red Hat acquisition in 2014; without its own source of funding, the odds of Rocky Linux becoming a full 1:1 replacement — with the same massive user base that CentOS did — seemed unpredictable at best.
Ctrl IQ’s “full technology stack”
While wading through the buzzword bingo, Ctrl IQ’s real business seems to be providing a relatively out-of-the-box infrastructure for high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, which can be distributed across multiple sites and/or or cloud providers.
Ctrl IQ’s fully supported technology stack is built to accelerate the speed and efficiency of multi-prem, multi-cloud, multi-architecture orchestration of workflows. The solution fits within existing enterprise architecture and infrastructures and includes:
Rocky Linux: enterprise Linux supported for cloud and enterprise created by Kurtzer, Ctrl IQ CEO and founder of CentOS
warewulf: scalable systems management suite designed to manage clusters of compute resources.
Ctrl Computing Stacks: fully supported computational stacks designed for all performance intensive workflows such as HPC, AI, ML and scientific workflows.
fuzz ball: provides the intelligent, secure and high-performance orchestration of workflows and data in a managed or hosted on-premise solution.
Ctrl IQ cloud: provides a secure hybrid platform to run and orchestrate performance-critical workflows as well as services.
Rocky Linux itself is still more of a dream than downloading, as are Ctrl Computing Stacks, Fuzzball, and Ctrl IQ Cloud, but not all Ctrl IQ’s offerings are theoretical. Warewulf, also founded by Kurtzer, is currently being developed and maintained by the US Department of Energy. Anyone can freely download and use Warewulf, but it’s not hard to suggest an added value in consultation with one of the founders.
Kurtzer and his new company received accolades from Sandia National Laboratories — the current home of Warewulf — and from investment firm IAG, which also funds NAS company OpenDrives (and considers Ctrl IQ’s mission critical to).
Rocky Linux remains a community project
We asked Ctrl IQ what the relationship between itself and Rocky Linux would be, specifically whether the Rocky Linux project would operate separately and independently or as a wholly owned property of Ctrl IQ. A representative from Ctrl IQ confirmed that Rocky Linux is and will remain a community project, saying:
No, it is not wholly owned and is still community based. Ctrl IQ supports the seed capital for expenses, legal affairs, etc. and [Rocky Linux] is an OS option for the entire tech stack.
Ctrl IQ is one of three Tier 1 sponsors identified by the Rocky Linux project, along with Amazon Web Services (which provides core infrastructure) and Mattermost, which provides business collaboration services, think “Slack, but not Slack”.
In general, Rocky Linux is expected to be generally available in the second quarter of 2021, with a build for the first release expected on March 31.
Update: Ctrl IQ contacted due to confusion caused by the original headline of this article (since corrected). Ctrl IQ is only a sponsor of the Rocky Linux project, not a parent company.
Ctrl IQ is not a parent company, but one of several sponsors. … Greg [Kurtzer] is committed to ensuring there is a clean separation between Ctrl IQ and Rocky so that Rocky is not controlled by Ctrl IQ or any of its sponsors.
Rocky Linux was founded before Ctrl IQ put any money into it, with a community now made up of thousands of people forming the foundation of the organization. Greg originally based Ctrl IQ’s stack on CentOS, but he, like most of the community, had to run to something else. Because of the tuning, Greg chose Rocky and was asked to help support it.
Display image by Ctrl IQ