With this election, AlmaLinux becomes the only major CentOS Linux replacement distribution to be solely owned and operated by its community of developers and users.
Today the AlmaLinux Foundation, the organization in charge of Alma Linux and its associated software, announced the results of its first community election to determine its board of directors.
Since the organization was formed last year, it’s been operating with an appointed board of directors, so this will be the first fully elected board in the organization’s brief history. The election returns four board members to their seats, and elects three new members.
Going in, the election’s results were a given, since the seven electees were the only people nominated — meaning that everyone who was running was elected.
“A couple months into planning the election (just weeks from it starting), we realized that the rules that we’d set up were going to drastically limit who could be nominated, specifically the rule about each nominee having to be a member of the foundation for at least three months,” AlmaLinux Foundation’s current board chair, benny Vasquez (she spells her given name all lower case), explained to FOSS Force in an email.
“We had started reaching out to folks who were highly active in the community, the people we specifically wanted to serve on the board and help drive the future of AlmaLinux to ask them to run. Sadly, we found that they hadn’t actually joined the foundation yet. Every one of them was a ‘oh, yeah, I forgot to do that!'”
She said that this led to discussions on whether or not to proceed with the election as planned.
“The election committee and I discussed if it was worth delaying the election to try to open the door for those folks,” she said. “We discussed this in depth. Ultimately, we decided that would create the exact situation we wanted so much to avoid: intentionally setting up the election in such a way as to determine the end.
“I’ll be honest, as we opened up nominations we were worried that we might not even make it to the full seven seats being nominated,” she added. “It’s a big ask for someone, especially so early in the life of a new organization, but we decided to go forward anyway. I know it might seem a bit odd to run an election with the same number of open seats as there were candidates, but I’m proud to say that we held to our beliefs and ultimately were able to run the election without compromising its integrity in such a fundamental way.”
After the new board is seated, this will make AlmaLinux the only Red Hat Enterprise Linux replacement (a position once held almost exclusively by CentOS, which is now RHEL’s upstream base) that’s both owned and operated by the community. The other two major distros in the space, Oracle Linux and Rocky Linux, are both privately owned, with the former owned by Oracle and the latter owned by Gregory Kurtzer and CIQ (a high performance computing company largely owned by Kurtzer).
The three newly elected board members are Cody Robertson, CTO at Hawk Host; Moshe Bar, CEO at security-focused CodeNotary; and Daniel Pearson at KnownHost, the company that has hosted FOSS Force for the past eight years or so. Pearson was promoted from COO to CEO at KnownHost in August, just as this election was getting underway.
Returning to Alma’s board are Vasquez; Simon Phipps, a former president of Open Source Initiative; Jack Aboutboul, who’s also the foundation’s community leader; and Jesse Asklund, chief experience officer (CXO) at WebPros, which services the web hosting industry.
In a press release, Vasquez said that the first meeting of the new board will take place in early October.
“We’ll spend a little time onboarding the new members,” she said. “We’ll be looking at everything we’ve got planned, and start to look forward to 2023.”