Rocky Linux To Support Upstream Stable Kernels

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 18 April 2024 at 06:42 AM EDT. 39 Comments
With the various Linux distributions derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), we're beginning to see more features to distinguish between them rather than just "RHEL clones". It was just days ago talking about AlmaLinux restoring old hardware support that's been deprecated by upstream Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Now over on the Rocky Linux side, CIQ as the principal organization behind them is rolling out support for upstream Linux kernels.

CIQ announced this week that they will be supporting upstream stable kernels into Rocky Linux. They wrote in a press release:
"CIQ, the company building the next generation of software infrastructure for enterprises, today launched fully supported, upstream stable kernels for Rocky Linux via the CIQ Enterprise Linux Platform, providing enhanced performance, hardware compatibility and security.

The new offering from CIQ was built to meet the ultra-high performance, compatibility and security needs of the most advanced customers, and is now available to everyone. Development of the new offering stemmed from a storage use case where leveraging the large PCIe footprint of AMD EPYC processors was critical. Since then, additional use cases have emerged as organizations are realizing benefits of the upstream kernels."

Unfortunately though there isn't much public information available regarding their upstream kernel support plans on Rocky Linux. Additionally, it appears that the upstream kernel endeavor on Rocky Linux may be gated to their commercial customers as opposed to making all the assets freely available and just gating their commercial support. In any event great seeing Rocky Linux supporting the option of upstream kernels for those wanting to ride the latest upstream innovations, performance improvements, and new hardware support for those not concerned about being on a RHEL-compatible kernel.

Rocky Linux on EPYC

Performance and speed, broader hardware compatibility, and security were among the expressed reasons for the interest in upstream kernel support on Rocky Linux.

Update: For those interested in community upstream kernel builds on Rocky Linux, see the Rocky Kernel SIG.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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