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

Tue Dec 15 20:31:07 UTC 2020
Lance Albertson <lance at osuosl.org>

On Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 11:40 AM Trevor Hemsley via CentOS-devel <
centos-devel at centos.org> wrote:

> On 15/12/2020 17:59, Mike McGrath wrote:
> I'd also just add that while I find Johnny's characterization of what
> happened accurate, Ljubomir took a couple of leaps that I don't think
> existed.  Red Hat decided not to continue paying actual money for what was
> actively harming us and no longer providing the value that it once did.  No
> one, not even the board, could force Red Hat to continue paying for this
> project which was just not working for us.  I'm not going to say that the
> announcement was the board's idea or even that they were happy about it.  I
> think the previous course and speed of CentOS was well understood.  But
> that no longer worked for Red Hat who is paying for people, servers, swag,
> etc.  The list goes on.
> Thank you for this clarification although it was fairly apparent to
> everyone what the driver was behind this change.
> I'd like to thank Red Hat for supporting the CentOS Project from 2014 to
> 2020. You did a good thing by stepping in to save the project from
> disintegration back in 2014. Thanks for that, CentOS would probably have
> survived without you but you did the right thing and stepped up when you
> were needed.
> However...
> While Red Hat may *legally* own the CentOS Project, I do not believe you
> are *morally* entitled to do what you have done. CentOS is not just about
> the project and the contributors to it. It's more than that. It has
> millions of users, so many that no-one really knows how many there are.
> Lots of those users may be large corporations "freeloading" as Red Hat
> probably see it but others, those are small users running single machines
> or just a few. Those users are *your* future.
> You (Red Hat) made a  lot of promises both in 2014 and as late as last
> year when Chris Wright said something along the lines of classic CentOS
> Linux is not going anywhere. It's all very well to say that things change,
> well of course they do, but when they do, you have an obligation to live up
> to your promises and the recent actions were in no way doing that.
> I believe the correct action for Red Hat to have taken would have been to
> say "we have decided that we no longer wish to fund the CentOS Project as
> it no longer aligns with our business purposes. So, in order not to let
> down the millions of users of CentOS Linux, we have decided to set up a
> foundation and donate the trade marks and domain names (that we acquired
> for almost nothing)".
> With a decent legal founding, you could have made it takeover proof so
> that none of your competitors could acquire it. You could have done this
> and asked a number of the larger companies that have CentOS as part of
> their portfolio to sponsor the foundation - the Googles/AWS/OVH/cpanel's of
> this world could easily have stepped up and funded a FTE or 2 by donating
> to the foundation and you could have transferred some or all of the
> existing people who work on CentOS to that foundation and let *them* run
> it. Those hosting companies spin up new CentOS instances all the time and a
> cent or two donation on each instance would most likely fund most of what's
> required. And the people who are now scrambling around attempting to set up
> new hardware and build environments, they could be supporting the CentOS
> Linux Foundation instead.
> The fact that you decided to take CentOS Linux out the back and shoot it
> in the head is a betrayal of your company's promises over the last 6 or 7
> years. It's exactly what everyone was afraid of when Red Hat took over
> CentOS in 2014 and despite numerous questions, you all said "no no, it's
> safe with us". Some of us remember those days and arguing with people about
> whether it was a good thing or not and a lot of us said "Trust Red Hat, see
> what they do, look at their actions not their words". Well we did.
> You should rename CentOS Stream to Red Hat Stream Linux (RHSL) and remove
> CentOS from the Red Hat family altogether. Donate the trade marks and logos
> and domain names and the tooling needed to produce CentOS Linux. Set up a
> foundation. Get the big players who offer CentOS to users to help fund the
> foundation. Ask the employees who work on CentOS on a daily basis if they'd
> like to stay with Red Hat or transfer to the new foundation. Find some way
> in which users can contribute to the foundation and ensure its future.
> It's not too late to do the right thing. Red Hat can still back off this
> betrayal of the community that use CentOS Linux and set CentOS Linux free.
> You can say that you think people are coming round to this. I do not
> agree. I have read all of the feedback on IRC, all of the feedback on the
> CentOS forums, all the feedback on the mailing lists. This is *not* a
> popular change. It's tarnishing and poisoning Red Hat's reputation and
> until it's addressed it will continue to do so. You can help to fix this
> before Red Hat becomes tarred with the same brush as that other big company
> with the big red logo and the not so great reputation. This is NOT just a
> $$$ decision, it has other ramifications and right now, Red Hat are the bad
> guys and will remain so until this is addressed.
> You can hope it'll go away but it won't. Red Hat will always be the
> company that broke its promises and killed CentOS Linux.
> Trevor Hemsley
I agree 100% with what Trevor so marvelously said here.

Lance Albertson
Oregon State University | Open Source Lab
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