[CentOS-devel] I want to help

Wed Mar 30 16:30:01 UTC 2011
Scott Dowdle <dowdle at montanalinux.org>


----- Original Message -----
> > If this is not the venue, there is no venue.
> Fully agreed.

I agree also.  I guess if they don't like it, they can kick us off the mailing list. I won't be offend if I'm kicked off because I don't really contribute and joined just to get some incite into what is going on... and we all know how well that has been working.  :)

I must acknowledge that I do appreciate the work the CentOS developers do and that I haven't not found a way to contribute back.

I did see the huge under-appreciated thread asking if the Scientific Linux folks and the CentOS folks could work together.  I read it for a few dozen postings and then gave up.  I'm sure I'm probably repeating much that came from that thread... and as a result will be annoying to those who were annoyed by that thread... but anyway.

Ok, the CentOS and SL projects have different goals.  DUH.  But their goals are similar.  They have similar tasks when they go about their building of and maintenance of their projects.  The SL guys appear to have adopted much of the development environment from the Fedora folks.  It seems to be that the CentOS developers could learn from the SL developers experience... and then alter that to meet their different needs.  The good thing about the Fedora development environment is that it makes it possible to distribute the work.  Right now the problem is that, and correct me if I'm wrong, the work is NOT distributed because the current build environment doesn't really allow for it... with regards to the building of packages and verifying them, etc.

Yes, I know the CentOS devels can't do anything about changing their system in mid-stream as it would delay even longer the the release of 5.6 and 6.0... and 6.1 is just around the corner... so we justifiably give them a pass.  What remains to be seen is what they will do after the crunch time is over... and how burnt out they may or may not be as a result.  Will they have the energy and desire to investigate a more open, distributed, community-enabling devel system after this go round?  Will we have thrown so much salt in the wounds that they will want to take a break for a few months and then forget about it?  The real question is, are they really going to be open to changing things at all?  So far, I'm not sure.

Other than the complaining they have been getting about the delays from the "community of non-developers" , and granted a lot of it is the result of misinformation and misunderstandings, I'm not sure if the handful of CentOS developers are unhappy with the way things are (the development environment they are using) or not.  I think they see most of these recent volunteers as fly-by-night, johnny-come-latelys are are just trying to get their copy of 5.6 and 6.0 faster... without much in the way of long-term help involved.  There doesn't seem to be an infrastructure in place to enable them to easily make the changes that most of us feel are necessary for the future... and I'm not sure how interested they are in putting forth the work needed... when they are already overworked... when they perhaps see it as potentially just creating additional work for them without a guaranteed benefit.

Given the current situation... where the devs are too busy to accept help... I think what might be a direction for those who want to help... is to look into the Scientific Linux devel system... setup up a proof-of-concept clone of it... get it up and running as best as possible... and then try to figure out how it can be modified to add the validation tools the CentOS developers demand / rely on.  That might sound like a crazy idea with little reality... but hey... at least it would be something... and if done right perhaps get the developers more interested in the changes we want... and show that the crop of recent volunteers are actually willing and able to do something.  Of course it runs the risk of being completely rejected... but at that point it just might be worth having a healthy fork.

All of that stuff is easy for me to comment on because I have NOT volunteered to do anything. :)  I also have to admit that I'm not much of a developer so perhaps my ignorance shows and people are laughing at me and this post.  That's ok.

I've personally been playing with the SL kickstart files for their live media and making my own remixes.

In any event... thank you CentOS developers for the work you have done and continue to do.  It is appreciated.  I just wish I could wave a magic wand and fix all of the issues... give everyone unlimited free time... and some form of compensation they would be happy with.

> > And regarding time, the project has missed the opportunities the
> > past 3
> > years to fix the issues. Besides the issues only appear when it's
> > not the
> > time to discuss them.
> Excepting the 4.9 release, which was extremely timely, point releases
> have been slipping more and more. The slippage for 5.6 is now nearly
> 3
> months (RHEL 5.6 was released Jan 13, 2011). The slippage for 6.0 is
> nearly 5 months (RHEL 6 was released on Nov 10, 2010), and it's
> pretty
> much guaranteed that RH will release 6.1 before CentOS releases 6.0.
> Claiming that the CentOS dev team does not need help building and
> that
> the build process has not become more complicated would appear to be
> untrue. But those of us on the outside have to guess at this because
> there is absolutely no transparency about the build process. All
> we've
> been told about the 5.6 delays are that there were "niggles". That's
> great -- exactly what niggles? What's blown up? Why is none of this
> public? THAT is what people are becoming increasingly discontent
> about
> -- a Community project that does not have any real interaction with
> the community. Too much is happening behind closed doors, and while I
> don't expect anything to change for 5.6 or 6.0 (or 6.1 at this
> point),
> there needs to be work done toward rectifying this when everyone is
> not busy as hell with new releases.
> Rejecting offers for help in such an offhand way is really just
> poisoning the well -- I know several people who are extremely
> qualified for rebuilding efforts that will not work with CentOS
> because of such offhand dismissals. And, frankly, it's becoming
> extremely reminiscent of the final days of Whitebox before the CentOS
> project began. Yes, that's harsh, but the parallels are there.
> Tom Sorensen
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