[CentOS-devel] FYI: centos reproduceability

James Olin Oden

james.oden at gmail.com
Tue Apr 28 19:33:38 UTC 2009

On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 2:19 PM, Dag Wieers <dag at centos.org> wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Apr 2009, James Olin Oden wrote:
>> Your spending a lot of time defending the status quo, but your not
>> really answering an honest complaint.
> What you see as a defense, I saw as an explanation to why it is the way it
> is. I think nobody argues that it is great the way it is. Especially
> within the CentOS project because it hurts our effort too.
>> I've spent a lot of time servicing customers, and when they complain to
>> you, they really don't care about explanations that don't try to help
>> them with their immediate problem.
> I am not disagreeing with you at all, but I don't see any solution from
> you either.
I wasn't offering one.  I was more defending the ones that were
dismissed out of hand for what actually is a reasonable desire (i.e.
that either RedHat was self hostable, or that the method for building
it was clearly documented).

> CentOS does not have customers,
Yes you do.   Not paying, but you have those you serve.  Now you serve
them at your pleasure, but serve them you do (and quite well I might
add).  My comments though were not directed at CentOS.  You literally
inherit what RedHat gives you.  You can make it better but typically
your goals seem to be to stay as close to the original as possible
(which is a good goal).

> and nothing should hold you back to
> implement a solution and offer it to Red Hat.
Lots of things would hold me back and they are the same things that
hold you back.

> CentOS can even help
> you with the resources if you want to make a CentOS project out of it.
> (Although it probably makes more sense as a Fedora or Red Hat project)

> But at the moment this is yet another task that requires people's time
> and I am not sure if we want to dedicate existing CentOS people to such a
> project if it has an impact on more important deliverables.
I would agree.

> The question really is: are you willing to be part of the solution ?
No that was not the question.  The question was, "How does one
reproducibly build a RedHat distribution?".  A very reasonable
question to ask.

> I'd say we need more people to take action, and less people to argue :)
Sure...wasn't trying to argue, was more trying to defend.  Also,
when/if I find something that my employer really needs fixed I fix it
and send patches upstream.  I just don't think this is a technical

> If nobody stands up to fix this, we might see it as a sign that nobody
> thinks it is important (enough).
Non-redhat employees have no direct way of fixing what is not a
technical problem but a process problem.  The only way that they have
of effecting a process problem is let RedHat know that its a problem
for them.  RedHat may  or may not then decide to do anything about it.
 They may choose for what they feel are very valid business reasons,
to simply maintain the status quo.  If more customers communicate
their displeasure, in a reasonable manner, regarding an issue, this
may give more weight to it.  After all they can't just do everything
they are requested by everyone.  Or again, the cost to fix their
process may be so prohibitive they may choose to not do anything.

Even though this hypothetical response is reasonable, the customer may
see that the issue is such a big deal that they just need to move on,
provided of course there is somewhere to move on to.   This is a
reasonable response of the customer.

This is really the heart of what I was trying to say.  It is
_reasonable_ for customers of RedHat, be they majority or minority, to
take issue with RedHat's build process if the result produces
something that is undesirable to them.   My entire purpose in this
case was to defend the reasonableness of this type inquiry.

As it is, we both agree that the situation is not desirable.


P.S. Now I did bring up a premise that may not be true, which was that
the issue is not "Technical" but that it was a RedHat "Process"
problem.  If I'm wrong in that regard, then actually a solution is
achievable, and one might work on the problem, and not be a RedHat
employee.  I do agree that there are technical things one could do to
help solve the problem, but its seems to me that the main thing they
need is an automated rebuild of the world to detect if there is indeed
a problem with the build being self hostable.   I would guess RedHat
has this capability in their build system, and if they do, it would be
a decision to use it or not...which is a process issue.

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