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

Tue Dec 15 16:02:35 UTC 2020
Ljubomir Ljubojevic <centos at plnet.rs>

It looks like "fatherlinux" chose to not allow my comment. I see he
allowed some other comments and replied to some other, but mine is
missing, so I will post it here:


I have been active in CentOS community for 12 years, last 9 years I am
main admin of official CentOS group on Facebook. When I tok over there
was 300 members, now there is 26.800+ members. One part of this comment
was originally written for a article on Medium where RH employee said
"CentOS is NOT dead", and other is part of reply in CentOS mailing
lists, so it might feel like it is not addressing you specifically.
Sorry about that but this is Frankenstein's monster.

First thing I must notice, fatherlinux, is that your lack of using
CentOS and communicating with CentOS community robs you of true
understanding what "CentOS Linux" was, and what it meant. I used CentOS
Linux to get a stable distro. I can trust without paying for it. I and
small companies I installed CentOS for were NEVER gonna buy RHEL. Ever.
We do not have enough money for it. So it was always gonna bee free
Linux distro. In Serbia where I live Linux community is 80-90%
Debian/Ubuntu. Between 2008-2015 I was almost alone in preaching
benefits of RHEL/CentOS. I was almost ridiculed. It got so bad that I
finally gave up trying to change their minds.

What your western mind does not realize is that USA is 330 million
people, and Europe is another 800 million. There is money there. But
India is 1,2+ billion people and China has 1,5 bn people. Entire Asia
has 4bn people, and legal software and paying for licenses is very low
due to general low income. But they are getting technologically better
and to avoid Microsoft licenses many choose Linux. India even started
teaching Linux in schools, but guess what, they use Ubuntu! Every child
in India is learning how to use Ubuntu. As a admin on CentOS Facebook
group, majority of newbies are from Asia, mostly from poorer countries
as India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mianmar etc, Those that reach CentOS
community via Facebook are true newbies. They barely know to use
Facebook and majority does not know support forums and mailing list even
exist on the internet. Bug report systems especially. Over the years I
have built several pages of resource links, explanations, (safe)
howto's, etc. I did everything to make newbies understand, appreciate
and adopt CentOS and via that the RHEL way. I preached like a zealot.
And zealots ARE NEEDED for RHEL, because it has many issues but only
positive point was it was 99% clone of RHEL.
When we explain them that there are no audio/video codecs due to legal
restrictions, that kernel is backported and adding some module is not
possible if they compile vanila kernel because it brakes the kABI, that
they need to install centosplus kernel because driver they needed RHEL
does not want to support, that CentOS tools for development are too old
because of version freeze, that they need to install several 3rd party
repositories to make their server work, they then asks us "but why would
we use CentOS instead of Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE...?"
And every single time the response was "Because Red Hat is great company
that created great and very stable product and CentOS is almost total
clone of RHEL, and when they learn how to manage CentOS they can go for
RH Linux certification. And that is it, for them CentOS does not have
any other competitive edge over other Linuxes beside "99% clone of
RHEL". SELinux was more of the repelling point, vast majority would just
turn it off when they read first Howto on the internet, and great
efforts went to pleading with them to try to learn SELinux.

So the fact that there are 1.000 guys that do developing on CentOS does
not mean that majority of CentOS users are "developers", on the
contrary, vast majority of servers running CentOS, especially rented
VM's are run/controlled by guys like me whose main job is not to manged
Linux servers, that is only a side job and many only barely understand
what they are doing. They installed the system, configured it via some
tutorial, and left it running.

I am one of community members that was very vocal about death of "CentOS
Linux". No one said that "CentOS" is dead, but "CentOS Linux". CentOS is
Open Source Project, and "CentOS Linux" was product of that project, 99%
binary compatible CLONE of RHEL. CentOS project would take RHEL source,
debrand it and compile it so that CentOS is "bug-for-bug" clone of RHEL.
There were many instancies where some package was not compiled against
exact version of dependency package, so when CentOS dev tried to compile
it they would not get same binary as RHEL's, so they would spend time
locating which version of which dependency package RH devs used.

It was done for 14+ years so that "CentOS Linux" would be binary
compatible with RHEL. This is important if you use some software that is
only supported on RHEL, and on no other distro. Using CentOS, you were
(resonably but not officially) assured that software running on CentOS
works same on RHEL (and vice versa).

This binary compatibility is MAIN and for many ONLY reason why they used
free-as-a-beer CentOS, some on test servers (save on 1 RHEL license for
system that does not create money), and others in not-for-profit
organizations and small companies (that can not afford $300+/year for
RHEL license ) in actual production. Even Hosting companies offer
"CentOS Linux" as option for installation, and they save a ton of money
on RHEL licences, but transfer that save to cheeper "CentOS Linux"
hosting. If no RHEL clone ever existed, all of the CentOS users above
would not learn how to use RHEL/CentOS but would start and continue to
use Debian or other Linux distributions for all those purposes.

So yes "CentOS Linux" IS DEAD, and instead of that product, RH, now
owner of (once Open Source) CentOS trademark offered DIFFERENT PRODUCT,
"CentOS Stream", something that was never meant to replace "CentOS Linux".

And here is main problem with "CentOS Steam":
"CentOS Stream" is designed to offer a vast minority of CentOS users
DEVELOPMENT platform on which they can prepare their software (that will
run on RHEL) to support next RHEL minor release (like 8.1, 8.2, 8.3,
8.4, etc). Current RHEL minor version is 8.3, and "CentOS Stream" (I
choose to call it "RHEL Stream") is set of packages that WILL BE RHEL
8.4 in next (up to) 6 months. Unlike other Open Souce projects (run by
community via consensus), "CentOS Stream" devs will only be RH employees
who might be persuaided to add something new, but that is not likely.
Only part of "CentOS Stream" that will be trully Open Source (with imput
from community members not employed by Red Hat will be "SiG"'s, Special
Interest Groups that will develop their own software on top of RHEL's
next minor release, I mean "CentOS Stream"). Kernels will be biggest
problem because every time RH employee decides to work on new kernel,
community from ElRepo that compiles driver modules (that RH does not
WANT to support/spend resources on) will have to be recompiled. And Red
Hat disables A LOT of drivers, specially for older hardware!

Considering that can be any day in a span of 6 months, any time CentOS
Stream user that uses 3rd party drivers (does not run "CentOS Stream" on
RHEL approved hardware!) updates kernel might lose network or even
storage (drivers for unsupported RAID controler or network attached
storage not officially supported by RHEL). Would you risk running your
server on "CentOS Stream" if it means daily fear it will stop working
and need physical access to it to troubleshoot problem (maybe it was not
kernel this time but actual hardware issue?).
Chris Wright's words:
"To be exact, CentOS Stream is an upstream development platform for
ecosystem developers. It will be updated several times a day. This is
not a production operating system."

Who ever tries to minimize this issue needs to know following: Hundreds
(all of them) of 3rd party drivers from ElRepo project that work on RHEL
8.2 STOPPED WORKING on RHEL 8.3, and ElRepo needed to recompile ALL OF
THEM. Luckily, with "CentOS Linux" that follows RHEL minor releases this
might happen only every 6 months and any driver reported to have issue
is recompiled against new kernel and will work for another 6 months.
Imagine such nightmare happening every time soem RH dev decides kernel
need some changes?

To conclude:
When RH employed CentOS Core team in 2014 they promised that nothing
will change for "CentOS Linux". According to Johnny Hughes, member of
the CentOS board this change of direction, discontinuing of "CentOS
Linux" happened my RH liaison stating that changes will be made how ever
rest of the CentOS board votes (with implication concluded by me that
those against will lose  RH employee status). Board was initially
against, but then they capitulated in front of Red Hat blackmails and
decided "to vote for changes unanimously". Red Had flexed it's muscles,
members of CentOS Board will be forever remembered as exchanging
reputation and respect for income in Red Hat, and users decided such
tactics deserve abandonment of Red Hat.
Some 30% of people commenting negatively say they will move to
Debian/Ubuntu regardless of any positive points Red Hat employees try to
make, at least 60% will stay on CentOS Linux 7 until EOL but will switch
CentOS Linux 8 to Springdale, Oracle, or Rocky or Lenix  in next 12
months, and big non-for-profit institutions will wait to see what will
happen with "free RHEL licensees" for them. Around 70-80% of sysadmins
and CentOS users  commenting will never, ever, recommend RHEL to anyone.
I have to rebase my server from CentOS 6, and I am going with Springdale
for now, and will start learning Debian. I will soon resign as admin in
Facebook group (Many think that FB group is owned by me) and I was
already asked by some FB users if I plan to create new EL group they can
switch to. Only reason to delay is to try to persuade members and
visitors that they do not have to rush with switching to Debian/Ubuntu,
that there is still time.


On 12/14/20 10:06 PM, Ljubomir Ljubojevic wrote:
> On 12/14/20 5:24 PM, Daniel Comnea wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> I am not planning to pour gas over fire, a lot of traffic was generated
>> due to the recent announcement however i thought i should circulate an
>> article [1] i've bumped into today.
>> Please note, i'm not an RH employee nor i know the article's author, i'm
>> just a consumer of CentOS and someone who did a bit of work on PaaS sig
>> for OpenShift in my spare time with no employer sponsorship.
>> As the Xmas time is approaching it would be good to take a step back and
>> analyse from a different perspective what RH did and still does (look at
>> OKD 4.x and the mighty effort did by few passionate RH employees) before
>> throwing rocks. (humanity is very good at judging and snapping in a
>> blink of an eye).
>> Thanks
>> [1]
>> http://crunchtools.com/before-you-get-mad-about-the-centos-stream-change-think-about/
>> <http://crunchtools.com/before-you-get-mad-about-the-centos-stream-change-think-about/>
> This time I posted a larger comment with several issues, lets se if
> author green lights it (it is moderated).
>> _______________________________________________
>> CentOS-devel mailing list
>> CentOS-devel at centos.org
>> https://lists.centos.org/mailman/listinfo/centos-devel

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
(Love is in the Air)
PL Computers
Serbia, Europe

StarOS, Mikrotik and CentOS/RHEL/Linux consultant