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

Johnny Hughes

johnny at centos.org
Fri Jan 10 15:19:49 UTC 2020

On 1/8/20 4:25 PM, Gordon Messmer wrote:
> On 1/8/20 7:43 AM, Johnny Hughes wrote:
>>> I don't think it's*entirely*  fair to say that the fixes offered weren't
>>> relevant to CentOS, when no one outside the core maintainers had access
>>> to the build process, where fixes relevant to CentOS could be offered.
>> That is because CentOS Linux (other than Stream) is a rebuild of RHEL
>> source code .. so, that is how things get into base CentOS Linux.
> Yes, I know.
>> We don't accept input that deviates base CentOS Linux from RHEL source
>> code.
> Of course not.  But that's not the point.  Neal pointed out that the
> process of debranding and rebuilding CentOS is not a community process,
> and that the user community takes and does not give back much.  That is
> true.  I agree with him.

Well sure .. but that is also true for any Linux distribution.  It's not
like Ubuntu or Debian or Linux Mint (or anyone else) let community
members build their distributions.

Obviously, what gets built and what gets accepted into their build
system, as well as signature to verify the distributions are totally on
system they control .. they validate any patches received before it gets
into their distros too.

We are never going to allow other people to build things not in our
validated systems and then sign and release it with CentOS Keys as
CentOS Linux.  That would be ridiculously stupid  :)

And .. building the packages is NOT what is the hold up in most cases.
Testing and validation is the major issue.  Brian addressed a bunch of
that in his mail.

> I don't, however, know a good reason to believe that the community
> doesn't want to contribute, or isn't capable of contributing.  I have
> seen people offer to contribute numerous times, especially when new
> major or minor releases lag far behind upstream.  I tend to think those
> lags are evidence that the project does need more contributors, but I
> simply don't know any way for capable people to access the work queue
> and assist in getting it done.

Many users see CentOS as a clone (i hate that word, it is not a clone)
of RHEL or even worse .. as Free RHEL.  It is neither.  It is rebuilt
source code on a separate closed system and nothing more.

We don't need help building it .. we need help testing it.

If you want RHEL, with all its certifications and software assurance and
CVE verification .. then buy RHEL.  If RHEL ceases to exist, then so
does CentOS Linux. It is just that simple.  If you are running a
business and if you have to answer security questions to investors, you
need certified solutions. Again .. pretty simple.  CentOS Linux has no
certification of any kind.  If you are using it, YOU are providing the
certification that it mets YOUR needs.

> When I look at https://wiki.centos.org/Contribute , I don't see any
> entry points for capable people to participate early in the process.  I
> see a note that testing packages are announced on the devel list, but
> that's pretty far along in the process.  It's hard to imagine that
> participating at that point will significantly improve the turnaround
> time for the process of rebuilding and publishing the system.
> I could be wrong, since I see the situation from the perspective of the
> user community that I'm a part of, but my point is that Jim said "there
> wasn't really much of a way to give back that didn't make the project
> deviate from its core mission" and that is literally true.  I'm not
> arguing otherwise.  I just want to suggest that the fact that there
> wasn't a way to give back without deviating from the core mission is the
> result of decisions that the developers made to keep the process very
> closed and private, and we should acknowledge that when we're discussing
> community contributions.

Sure, as does every other distribution .. it can only be built from
git.centos.org .. any changes to that need to be validated and accepted
by a very small number of people to make sure it meets the standards.

There are special interst groups that build things NOT base CentOS Linux
.. and they all can use more people.  There are bugs listed at
bugs.centos.org that need validated and if they are RHEL issues, bugs
need to be filed at bugzilla.redhat.com to get those fixed.  There are
questions on the forums that need answers.  All of these things can be
done by the community .. if the community wants to do them.  They all
help everyone.  Yet, no one does them.

If by community help .. you want community members building and signing
the base os packages .. that is probably never going to happen.  It also
would never happen in Ubuntu or Debian or any other distribution.

We are looking at some mechanism to automate building things that do not
need approval at some period of time. But that will be discussed later.

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