[CentOS-devel] A Big Idea for a New Decade [was: Minutes for CentOS Board of Directors 2019-12-18 Meeting]

Jim Perrin

jperrin at centos.org
Tue Jan 7 20:08:33 UTC 2020

A couple points in-line for clarity:

On 1/7/20 4:09 AM, Neal Gompa wrote:

> First, sorry that this email probably doesn't thread will with either
> one or the other target mailing lists... I had to pick one to thread
> with, and other slightly loses. The downside of the initial email not
> being sent to both MLs at once. :(
> In concept, I certainly see value in bringing CentOS and Fedora
> closer. However, I think eliminating Fedora variants in favor of
> CentOS Stream ones (aka rhel-rawhide based variants) is probably
> premature. There are several issues with doing this as it currently
> stands:
> 1. CentOS Koji is pretty closed to a couple of folks in CentOS and Red
> Hat. This also includes blocking the download of artifacts from Koji.
> For reasons I don't understand, CentOS is still gated by the RHEL QE
> folks, and thus RPMs built in Koji cannot be downloaded until they are
> finally published. This ruins any testing/development before releasing
> to users. The CBS is a worthless substitute since it's purely for
> addons. I've been around long enough to remember when Fedora was like
> this, and back then, it wasn't really considered "okay" for Fedora to
> be like that (the intent was always there to fix it, and we eventually
> did!). Today, however, it is considered "okay", and that's a problem.

There were a variety of reasons this was done initially. In part for
bandwidth protection, ensuring debranding, and that packages had some
sanity checking (they link appropriately and didn't need to be rebuilt,
which happens frequently). Fabian and Brian have kicked around ideas for
how we can solve the majority of these issues, so we will be resolving
this in the future. We know it's not "okay", but it's also not the
biggest problem we need to solve.

> 2. The CentOS community is simply not mature enough to take on the
> role Fedora does in any meaningful capacity. We already know that this
> is a problem even with Fedora EPEL, and I strongly believe the issue
> would be massively magnified if those transitioned to the CentOS
> Project. The CentOS community is largely a user community that takes
> and does not give back much, if at all. I've experienced variations of
> this issue when people (even from Red Hat!) have done finger-pointing
> to *me* with my packages in EPEL without any acknowledgement that they
> could have helped. It's depressing that even some Red Hatters consider
> EPEL not worth contributing to, but still worth being upset about.

That's because until Stream existed, there wasn't really much of a way
to give back that didn't make the project deviate from its core mission.
We have absolutely taken contributions from the community in the past,
but most of the fixes offered were to fix bugs we didn't "own".

Stream gives us the opportunity to solicit and accept contributions, so
this point feels like it's holding the past up as a reason to not
address the future.

> What I'm more concerned about is that if you eliminate Fedora from any
> meaningful server based development, you strip all the opportunities
> for people to iterate on server-oriented changes before they go into
> rhel-rawhide and push into CentOS Stream. You also essentially kneecap
> any motivation for other things related to server environments to
> iterate faster (such as language stacks that are heavily used for web
> service software) because you've eliminated the major ability for that
> to ship to users and contributors. It also further accelerates a trend
> that I think we need to reverse where people consider Fedora
> unacceptable for server roles. If anything, Fedora is a lot better at
> being used for servers then it was five years ago. I've personally
> *stopped* using CentOS for servers because Fedora has gotten so good
> at it. Upgrades are a breeze and stuff generally works. When it
> doesn't, it's fixable! That last part is key. With CentOS, it's not,
> because it has to bounce back into Red Hat first. And Red Hat doesn't
> really care about issues discovered by CentOS users, and there are no
> "CentOS developers".

I'd like to see more data driven discussion and to take the feelings and
ego out of it. Anecdotal stories lead toward the loudest voice winning
instead of the largest mass of users. This does assume that we (both
Fedora and CentOS) have discussed which goals and metrics matter and
should be used to shape a decision one way or the other.

> So, what this long email is actually saying is that I think it's an
> interesting idea to bring the two projects together, but eliminating
> aspects of Fedora in favor of CentOS is premature because CentOS has
> not actually developed as a community project. Maybe it's worth
> revisiting after six years of actual community development?

I disagree a bit here. I think it's worth discussing, and I think it's
worth being clear about what the expectations are both for Stream, and
Fedora Server.

I think we should have the conversation (possibly again) about what we
want from Fedora Server. Is it serving the purpose originally
envisioned. Should that continue to be the purpose for it, etc.

Stream is what RH *intends* to be in future versions of RHEL, and I
think that intent matters when it comes to people developing for oVirt,
RDO, ansible or something else that would run on top of RHEL. I think
that intent matters for feature development when CERN or FERMI have
fixes or input for things they want to see, and contribute code to make
it happen. It will still be RH that makes the decision to commit to
accepting those fixes and agreeing to put them into future RHEL
releases. This is what we're actively building out, and what Carl is
working on.

Jim Perrin
The CentOS Project | http://www.centos.org
twitter: @BitIntegrity | GPG Key: FA09AD77

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