OpenELA, a trade association formed by CIQ, Oracle, and SUSE, has publicly released the source code for Enterprise Linux (EL), with a focus on EL8 and EL9 initially, and EL7 packages coming soon.

In August 2023, CIQ, Oracle, and SUSE initiated the creation of OpenELA in response to alterations in the accessibility of RHEL source code. 

OpenELA’s mission is to provide open source code, tools, and systems for the community. Key principles include adhering to established standards, delivering timely updates and secure solutions, maintaining transparency, fostering a sense of community, and ensuring that these resources remain free and shareable for everyone. Additional details on the project are available here

“Today, we release the source code needed for anyone to build and maintain a downstream Enterprise Linux derivitive as a first-class open source citizen,” said Gregory Kurtzer, CEO of CIQ and founder of Rocky Linux. “For decades organizations standardized on CentOS because it was freely available, followed the Enterprise Linux standard and was well supported by many vendors. After CentOS was discontinued, it left not only a gaping hole in the ecosystem, but it also clearly showed how the community needs to come together and do better. OpenELA is exactly that—the community’s answer to ensuring a collaborative and stable future for all professional IT departments and enterprise use cases.”

The organization stated that it is dedicated to making EL source code freely available to the community indefinitely. They have also completed their incorporation as a Delaware nonprofit nonstock corporation, aiming to operate under 501(c)(6) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. 

OpenELA serves as a platform for stakeholders interested in promoting open source enterprise Linux distributions, fostering collaboration, and aligning with open source community values.

OpenELA has established its Technical Steering Committee (TSC), which plays a vital role in the governance of the project, according to the working group. The TSC is responsible for overseeing technical aspects, guiding development and maintenance, and administering access to OpenELA’s Git organizations. 

Initially, the TSC comprises experienced individuals from the founding companies, with the expectation that membership will evolve over time. The TSC is crucial for OpenELA’s technical vision, as it represents community interests, promotes collaboration, ensures code security, and maintains code availability.