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

Tue Dec 15 21:20:46 UTC 2020
Phelps, Matthew <mphelps at cfa.harvard.edu>

On Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 3:50 PM Mike McGrath <mmcgrath at redhat.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 1:41 PM Trevor Hemsley <
> trevor.hemsley at ntlworld.com> 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.
> I'm in this weird position where I'm regularly hearing from people that
> thought that Red Hat made some sort of "We'll never change and CentOS Linux
> will be around forever" announcement.  I'd suggest everyone go back and
> re-read the original press release (I was not involved with the original
> agreement) -
> https://www.redhat.com/en/about/press-releases/red-hat-and-centos-join-forces
I'd suggest everyone go to this post where Rich Bowen assured us *last
year*, via the CentOS blog, that nothing would change:


I quote, "Red Hat always has and will continue to be a champion for open
source and projects like CentOS." and, in particular, "Our mission,
governance, and objectives remain the same. We will continue to execute the
existing project roadmap."

At that point the RHEL 8 roadmap was published, and CentOS 8.0 was being
worked on. It was released two months later. So, the "existing roadmap"
included the full course of CentOS 8.

Sure, things change. But all Red Hat had to do was wait until RHEL/CentOS 9
to enact this, and give us plenty of warning. You're paying for CentOS 7
engineering through 2024 (you BETTER be!), so what additional cost would
there be to continue CentOS 8 until then? By then it would be in
maintenance mode and resources could be drawn down, or moved, or whatever
and minimal effort would be needed. Meanwhile, Stream would still be
spinning up, and you'd still get whatever benefit you want from it.

I just don't understand the timing here.

And I'm mad as hell Red Hat reneged on their commitment to us.

You can nitpick at words, or take a quote out of context.  But don't be
> naive and pretend we had some grand plan for all of this from the
> beginning.  Just like anyone, Red Hat changes and makes decisions based on
> the best information we have at the time.  CentOS Linux made sense in 2014,
> it doesn't make sense in 2020.
> You may not like it, but the CentOS community didn't evolve in any way
> with the industry.  When I think about the talent on this list, and in IRC,
> I can't help but wonder what went wrong.  For whatever reason, CentOS never
> grew beyond a community of users.  And I know there are community members
> out there who are actively contributing time on QE as you did Trevor.  You
> are a very small minority on this project and I hope we can win you over in
> CentOS Stream.  As for the rest of you, where were you?
> And sure, we could have turned CentOS back over to some non-Red Hat
> foundation.  But the fact is contrary to popular belief, we actually like
> the engineers that work on CentOS, we like many of the users who have
> cultivated relationships with Red Hat over the years.  We intend on going
> forward with a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship there.  If that's
> not you, and you're ready to leave - I think that's unfortunate but I
> understand.
>              -Mike
>> Trevor Hemsley
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*Matt Phelps*

*Information Technology Specialist, Systems Administrator*

(Computation Facility, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)

Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

60 Garden Street | MS 39 | Cambridge, MA 02138
email: mphelps at cfa.harvard.edu

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