CIQ is a relatively new company. Its leadership, however, has deep roots in open-source software and Linux. Besides Gregory M. Kurtzer, CIQ’s co-founder and CEO, who was a creator of CentOS, the popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone, its new executive team — announced Wednesday — boasts two of the founders of Linuxcare, the first company to make supporting Linux a priority.
Today, the first business model that comes to mind for Linux or open-source software is to offer paid business support. It wasn’t always that way. In Linux’s early days, companies such as Caldera, Red Hat, and SUSE still thought you could make money by selling Linux in a box to ordinary users.
Before Red Hat figured this out, when it retired Red Hat Linux in favor of the commercial RHEL in 2003, Linuxcare had already emerged as the first important Linux support company in 1998. Unfortunately, business problems and the dot-com crash didn’t allow Linuxcare to become a top company. As the saying goes, first movers lose, second movers win.
But, that water is well over the dam now. Today, former Linuxcare founders Art Tyde, CIQ’s VP of business development, and David LaDuke, VP of marketing, bring decades of hard-won experience to the table. Other well-known veteran technology leaders such as Robert Adolph, co-founder and chief product officer; Rob Dufalo, SVP of engineering; John Frey, CTO; Stephen Moody, SVP support and technology; Marlin Prager, CFO; and Brock Taylor, VP of High-Performance Computing (HPC) and strategic partners, have joined them.
Many tech businesses are under the delusion that only the young can make a difference. Indeed, many believe that if you’re over 40, you’re too old for tech.
Wrong! CIQ values maturity and experience over youth and exuberance. And since CIQ recently secured $26 million in Series A funding led by Two Bear Capital, it’s not the only one that thinks it’s on the right track.
Rocky Linux, CIQ and the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation‘s free CentOS Linux clone, is proving to be massively successful. It’s reached Linux distro image downloads of up to 750,000 a month. But CIQ isn’t betting its future on being a Linux distro provider.
True, CIQ offers Rocky Linux support. But it also has several HPC offerings. These include Warewulf, cluster management and operating system provisioning for HPC; Apptainer, a Linux Foundation-supported HPC container open-source project; Traditional HPC, a Rocky Linux and Warewulf-based HPC approach for in-house servers; and Fuzzball: HPC-2.0, an HPC designed to work on the cloud.
It’s going to be interesting to see how well this all works. Personally, I’m expecting this bet on experience and hard-won wisdom to be successful.