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

Wed Dec 16 07:17:49 UTC 2020
Mark Mielke <mark.mielke at gmail.com>

On Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 2:31 PM Gordon Messmer <gordon.messmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> Red Hat built up CentOS Stream as a stable LTS distribution.  At some point, a rational person looking at the use cases for CentOS Stream and CentOS would naturally ask if it makes sense to continue putting human work hours into producing CentOS when it's considerably more difficult due to trying to reproduce the exact state of RHEL's build roots through reverse engineering, and for that effort, it's worse for 99.(some number of nines)% of users.  There are no security updates for at least two months a year, even when they're needed.  New features (rare as they are) roll out slower.  Support for new hardware rolls out slower.

The "considerable more effort to reverse-engineer" is a problem that
was created by Red Hat. The 2014 "acquisition" of CentOS was supposed
to resolve that. That RHEL is not reproducible is a Red Hat design
problem which CentOS inherits. CentOS is not the cause of this

If Red Hat was really concerned about making things easier, and better
- they would make the binaries free, and sell support subscriptions.
There doesn't need to be a separate CentOS distribution in this case.
Instead, the subscription model is tied to the binaries, and the
"secret sauce" and "do not use our brand" legal requirements which
forces CentOS to be a re-engineered attempt to reproduce RHEL from
source. The Red Hat brand could be everywhere, instead of creating the
rather muddy "CentOS is upstream of RHEL", making RHEL be the
derivative product? I think we all know why Red Hat won't do this.

> The vast majority of self-supported deployments would be better off choosing CentOS Stream, and having both makes that a lot less clear.  Producing CentOS is very expensive, and provides no value for the vast majority of users.  It provides no value to Red Hat, either.  And saying so doesn't mean that Red Hat is making a cash grab.

If this was true - then RHEL could also abandon minor releases. This
is not how vendors certify that their products work with RHEL, and it
will be a major problem for CentOS 8 Stream, just as it would be a
major problem for an RHEL 8 Stream (which is what CentOS 8 Stream
should be!). I don't believe that the CentOS board or the Red Hat
management team are innocent and unaware of this. Messaging such as
"if you require a stable release, you must buy RHEL" makes it clear
what is really going on here. CentOS 8 is being eliminated as part of
a determined business strategy. It is predatory. Allowing CentOS 8
Stream to exist only if CentOS 8 is destroyed, under legal threat, is
essentially defeat. It is saying "you can only exist if you do not
provide the same product we do".

> Time that engineers spend rebuilding CentOS is time that they aren't improving CentOS Stream.  (This is, very much, a zero-sum system.)  In other words, continuing to make CentOS is a missed opportunity to make CentOS Stream better, which would have made RHEL better, which would have made CentOS better.  That's what it means for CentOS to not work *for* Red Hat.  Red Hat can provide a better self-supported distribution by discontinuing effort on CentOS.

Which users of CentOS are voting for CentOS Stream to replace CentOS
Stable? Do you have a list? Is anybody other than Red Hat on this
list? Do you think a poll of the users would show that they agree with
this conclusion, or would it show the exact opposite? Are these users
irrelevant to the discussion?

This whole thread is fairly ingenuine. It is a lot of justification
after the fact, for CentOS 7 to be eliminated by 2024, and CentOS 8 to
be eliminated by 2021, leaving nothing to replace it with except RHEL

Enterprising individuals will fill this hole. Enterprising individuals
created CentOS to fill this hole originally, and Enterprising
individuals can do it again. Whether Rocky or something else. Most
likely, Ubuntu will steal market-share that Red Hat will never get
back. I also expect a number of Red Hat engineers to leave as a result
of this news, as it will be evidence that the company they work for is
not the company they agreed to join.

I have the ability to choose what gets deployed after EL 7 in our
company. I was heading down the EL 8 path. I'm not qualifying which EL
7 or which EL 8, because we use many variants, including RHEL 7. After
this event, I am forced to consider whether EL 8 has any place in our
organization at all. The module system is already a bit of a mess, but
I was willing to see it improve. Missing devel packages were annoying,
but they could be rebuilt from source. This event that essentially
destroys CentOS 8 is a sobering reminder that nothing is certain. When
we decide what OS to use behind EL 7, we need to pick a distribution
that will have a large ecosystem of vendors behind it. CentOS 7 helped
build that ecosystem. The deprecation and elimination of CentOS 8 by
2021, is a huge "Dead End" sign that should not be ignored.

Mark Mielke <mark.mielke at gmail.com>