When talking about Rocky Linux or other distros based on RHEL,
I don’t think that it is a good idea to paint any one person as the bad guy or that they are the bad guy or operating in bad faith. I do not think this is the case with any of the people behind Rocky.
I was in sales at Red Hat during this time, and I winced when I heard the announcement. While Stream was and is a great step forward, closing off the Open But unsupported CentOS option was bad for Red Hat’s business. Instead of walking into an organization built around Yum and RPM, and the tools that managed them, we’d end up waling into organizations built around apt and .deb.
As A Linux guy, I don’t care. As Red Hat employee, I did.
Rocky provides a need for people that need to have their stuff behave like RHEL but are doing something that means that Red Hat support is an unnecessary expense. For example, when I worked at Penguin Computing, we needed our stuff to act like RHEL, as it was going to be loaded on machines that could be rebooted to RHEL, but we were doing a custom Kernel module (BProc) that was not going to be accepted upstream. Loading it into a RHEL system would taint the Kernel.
We were PXE booting a large array of very NON-RHEL systems from this one. We could not afford the expense of RHEL suport for 200+ Nodes that were only installed with our own Code. CentOS was much easier for us than Rolling our own RPMS.
Did we benefit from Red Hat effort? Yes. Did we contribute back to the community? As much as my 9 person development team could. Aside from the base OS we also had significant effort put into scientific libraries and Message Passing subsystems. We were stretched thin.
Rocky is Good for Red Hat. If I was back and sales and I knew that a customer team was based on Rocky, I would know how to get them running on RHEL if the opportunity arose. I would know that there stuff would run. That is a huge benefit to the sales process.
If no one is calling Red Hat data centers for support or filing customer support tickets for Rocky, it costs Red Hat nothing. If people find bugs on Rocky and file them against RHEL in RH bugzilla, it is good for Red Hat.
Stream is also a good effort, but it does not fulfill the need that Rocky does.