[CentOS] CentOS Project Infrastructure

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Thu Aug 6 18:07:58 UTC 2009

R P Herrold wrote:
> Some people are perhaps offended that the less public CentOS 
> infrastructure levels do not invite them in -- I cannot help 
> their wounded feelings.  Indeed, in part it may be that some 
> talented people drift away or withdraw for such a reason. 
> While I regret the loss of their enthusiasm, there is an art 
> to 'keeping the lights on' at a major distribution

I think the missing piece here is the warm/fuzzy feeling that the 
project has the means to continue in spite of anything that might happen 
to one or several of those key people that keep the lights on.  Part of 
that art is distributing the process so there are sufficient resources 
to cover problems.  Historically, you've done it so well that no one had 
to think about it but now that the question has been raised it would be 
good if your process were transparent enough to give an outsider reason 
to trust it.

> I am part of the CentOS team, but speaking as to just MY 
> opinion, I am just not interested in 'competing' with El Repo, 
> or RPMforge, or EPEL as I see the core mission of CentOS to be 
> to recreate, warts and all, a trademark elided rebuild of the 
> upstream's freely released sources in as close as possible 
> binary identical form, with changes related to our approach on 
> updater attended to.

There are at least the centosplus kernel and a few other things that 
need to be tightly coupled with the base package builds and release 
schedule.  Otherwise, yes, anything that can work in RHEL or any other 
clone belongs in someone else's repository.

> But in another way, there is a historical reality of doers and 
> watchers and talkers, in this project, in many FOSS projects, 
> and in politics and life in general.

That's generally enforced, not necessarily a natural state - if you 
aren't prepared to fork and duplicate the project there is often not 
much outsiders can do.  Probably rightly so in a project like CentOS 
where the objective is fairly clear and binary compatibility is 
generally not a matter of opinion.

> But the hard fact is that CentOS has been, is, and will 
> remain a reliable approach for millions of systems, not with 
> an 'open anything goes' management, but with a conservative 
> and careful one, based on observed and continued technical 
> merit by dedicated insiders.

Leaving outsiders to wonder what happens if those few insiders have a 
bad day.

   Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at gmail.com

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