[CentOS-devel] Before You Get Mad About The CentOS Stream Change, Think About…

Mark Mielke

mark.mielke at gmail.com
Thu Dec 17 00:17:18 UTC 2020

On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 6:52 PM Mike McGrath <mmcgrath at redhat.com> wrote:
> I think many of you think that some implicit guarantee was made, or are applying some standard to CentOS similar to what you would a contractual agreement and those will never be the same thing.

This isn't how Free / Open Source projects work. It is not normal for
a community that exists precisely to provide a particular feature, is
"acquired" by a company that claims to have the community interest at
heart, and then leverages this power to replace the product with
something that provides value to the company, and does not directly
compete with company.

I have no doubt of your sincerity. However, I also believe that you
may have been surrounded by other people with similar conflicts of
interest and created a sort of "echo chamber" that after several
months made it seem entirely reasonable to do.

> I think Red Hat did everything we could to stress that this rebuild was community supported and best effort.  Anyone mixing "free" and "enterprise" at work need to accept any risks that come along with that, I always did when I ran CentOS in production.  Even with all of that, we gave a year's notice for 8 and let 7 continue in its natural life.  We provided a viable (but not identical) alternative, and are working to find ways too get free RHEL to people.  We're going to stand by that all of that, why?  Because at the end of the day, any comparisons to us and Oracle, or "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" are unfounded.  We made a very unpopular decision here, I get that.  But the difference is while we stand by that decision we actually do care about the impact it has had and are trying to make it right with many of you.

Why is this a Red Hat decision to make? You say "community supported
and best effort", but then you speak in terms of Red Hat's interests
alone. Why can't it be a community decision, supported by the
community? Is this because Red Hat took ownership of the branding, and
stated that the branding could not be used for the original purpose
any longer?

> This is a good time to remind people of part of Chris Wright's announcement and centos-questions at redhat.com.  This is a mailing list (not a sales lead generator).  If you're using CentOS Linux today, and feel you cannot use stream.  Email us and tell us why.  The people who are creating new free and low-cost RHEL programs want to hear from you.  We don't know who you are.  And even if you are a Red Hat customer, previously you likely hid your CentOS deployments from us and so we don't know about them.  And I repeat: this isn't going to our sales team, they don't have access to this list, this is about making sure we structure our future RHEL programs correctly.

I spent a great deal of effort trying to explain to Red Hat the
problems with their subscription model in 2015 through 2018. It went
nowhere. Red Hat made no meaningful effort to adjust their
subscription model to be compatible with our requirements. The
proposals made to compromise were non-proposals. I wanted to spend
money on Red Hat, but against reasonable terms - and no reasonable
terms were offered.

CentOS 8 Stream is not a replacement for CentOS 8, and everybody in
this thread knows it. This means that a choice to use CentOS 8 Stream,
is a choice to use something entirely new - something somewhere in
between RHEL 8 and Fedora 33, and this is not a reasonable suggestion
for many "Enterprise" use cases.

The idea that an "Enterprise" is "hiding CentOS" from Red Hat is part
of the dangerous ethos that is on display here. Red Hat may
substantially contribute to the community - but Red Hat is for the
most part an assembly of free / open source projects that were given
to Red Hat to use freely. Red Hat is reselling the works of others.
Like thousands (millions?) of others, I contribute back to upstream
projects. I also contribute fixes which Red Hat packages and builds
into products that they sell to Enterprise customers. Red Hat isn't
paying my salary. Where is my cut? I don't actually want a cut. I want
Red Hat to be a hero of Free / Open Source, and show leadership in how
to do things right. Killing CentOS 8 is an example of how to do things

The question is what happens next. There are thousands of people with
budget, skill, and now motivation, to do something in response to this
choice. Will these people embrace CentOS 8 Stream for development, and
pay for RHEL 8 for stability? Or, will these people reject this
conclusion, and either rebuild CentOS as it was originally intended,
or simply move to another vendor that is not as predatory? Oracle
Linux and Ubuntu both look like saints today.

Mark Mielke <mark.mielke at gmail.com>

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