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Intro to Debranding with Rocky Linux

What is Debranding?

Certain packages in the upstream RHEL/CentOS have logos, trademarks, and other specific text, images, or multimedia that other entities (like the Rocky Linux Foundation) are not allowed to redistribute.

A visible, simple example is the Apache web server (package httpd). If you've ever installed it and visited the default web server page, you will see a test page specific to your Linux distro, complete with a "powered by" logo and distro-specific information. While we are allowed to compile and redistribute the Apache web server software, Rocky Linux is NOT allowed to include these trademarked images or distro-specific text.

We must have an automated process that will strip these assets out and replace them with our own branding upon import into our Gitlab.

How Rocky Debranding Works

Rocky's method for importing packages from the upstream is a tool called srpmproc.

Srpmproc's purpose in life is to:

  • Clone PACKAGE from our upstream source: git.centos.org/rpms/PACKAGE or gitlab.com/redhat
  • Check if Rocky Linux has any debranding patches available for PACKAGE (under https://git.rockylinux.org/patch/PACKAGE )
  • If patch/PACKAGE exists, then read the configuration and patches from that repository and apply them
  • Commit the results (patched or not) to https://git.rockylinux.org/rpms/PACKAGE
  • Do this for every package until we have a full repository of packages in our Git

Helping with Debrands

There are 2 tasks involved with debranding. Identifying packages that require debranding (see call for help above), and developing patches+configs to debrand the necessary packages.

If you want to help with the latter, please see the patching guide for examples and a case study. If you find something that you suspect is missing branding, you can also file a bug report instead.

Debrand Packages Tracking

A list of packages that need debranding is located in the a metadata file in our git here. This generally does not track status.


Last update: 2022-08-08