[CentOS] CentOS Project Infrastructure

Johnny Hughes johnny at centos.org
Fri Aug 7 15:40:46 UTC 2009

Ned Slider wrote:
> Marcus Moeller wrote:
>> Dear Russ,
>>>>> Don't misunderstand.  I think you have done and are doing a great job
>>>>> but some things are out of any single person's control.  All I'm
>>>>> suggesting is that it would be nice if there were an easy answer to the
>>>>> question of "what if" those things happen to a few of you.  I think it
>>>>> is a good thing that the question is being asked, though.
>>>> As an outsider (as far as CentOS development goes), I think this would
>>>> probably be a good time to just back off a bit, chill out, and see
>>>> what comes out of the current reorganization.
>>> * chuckle * Actually I was appreciated Les' comments, in the
>>> first instance today and later.  If I cannot respond to
>>> thoughtful comments, I've probably not thought the matter
>>> through enough.  I may choose to ignore matter of course where
>>> comment is not yet ripe
>>> Akemi, Ned and Marcus [and others who have contacted me and
>>> some of the others on the core group off-list] are obviously
>>> concerned, want to help, and want to participate more as well,
>>> and I'll probably do yet another run at describing some ways
>>> to increasingly grow as a sysadmin, a developer, and as a
>>> 'person worth watching' as posts of each and others in recent
>>> days have set me to thinking.
>>> I've done such coaching on the ML, in the wiki, and in private
>>> email, so why not yet again?
>> That"s a great offer and what I titled as mentorship. 
> I think the issue here, at least as perceived by those outside of the 
> project core, is that little is done to actively encourage contributors 
> (ie, mentorship). It's all very well noting and observing the talent 
> develop and calling upon said talent down the line so long as said 
> talent hasn't lost interest in your project in the meantime. What 
> concerns me is that I see absolutely no effort on behalf of the project 
> to nurture/develop/mentor the next generation of CentOS developers. Who 
> will step up to the plate and commit to being lead dev on EL6 with a 7 
> year lifecycle, a full update set every 6 months, security updates to 
> rebuild at no notice. It's a huge undertaking.
>  From my own experiences when trying to contribute, I have repeatedly 
> been told not to bother, not to do it and to go away. So in the end 
> that's what I did out of frustration - I went away and founded the 
> elrepo project with a few others who also wanted to contribute but found 
> themselves unable to do so. Initially I viewed this as a failure - I 
> would much rather have seen the elrepo driver project be done as the 
> CentOS Dasha project (and likewise, for fasttrack). But now I see it as 
> an advantage not being part of a CentOS project - by not being part of 
> CentOS we are able to support and work with the whole Enterprise Linux 
> community (incl. RHEL and SL), not just CentOS. Red Hat have recognised 
> our value and we are already engaged with Red Hat developers in 
> discussions regarding the direction of the driver update programme in 
> RHEL6. It would be nice if the CentOS Project wanted to engage too :-)
> IMHO I think it's a shame CentOS doesn't presently offer rebuilds of the 
> FasTrack channel. I know there is a need within the community (our own 
> logs from our fasttrack offering show us that). Let me say this isn't 
> particularly about fasttrack or about me, it's about highlighting how 
> the process doesn't work - I merely use my own experience as an example 
> to highlight this. I have expressed a willingness to contribute. I have 
> shown a commitment over a reasonable length of time, so I'm not the here 
> today, gone tomorrow type. I have been rejected, gone off and done it 
> anyway, so I have demonstrated resilience and determination - I've 
> demonstrated I'm a "do'er" not a "talker". My "product" is out there for 
> others to view and judge my level of competence (I don't and never have 
> claimed to know everything or be perfect, I only display a willingness 
> to continue to learn and develop). I merely seek to contribute back to a 
> community from which I have taken something of value. Yet at every step 
> of the way I have been rejected and knocked back. Never once has a 
> CentOS dev approached me with an offer of mentorship or advice or 
> anything else. As I said, this is absolutely not about me - my 
> circumstances are not unique. For every person like me who is knocked 
> back or rejected, there must be dozens more onlookers who see that and 
> don't even bother trying to engage with the project.
> Another example is the forums. I started engaging with the CentOS 
> project back in 2005 in the CentOS forums. For years I worked diligently 
>   helping users there and was "rewarded" for my efforts in 2008 being 
> made a forum moderator/administrator. My fellow forum moderators both 
> have @centos.org email addresses, something I was denied? How is one 
> supposed to represent the project when one isn't given the tools to do 
> so? It's only an email alias - why would some be afforded that and 
> others be denied? You may think this is a moot point and I'm complaining 
> for the sake of it, but it's about how you make people feel - do they 
> feel valued and worthwhile or are they made to feel like their efforts 
> don't really matter. It was mentioned earlier in this thread that only a 
> handful of people actively participate on bugs.centos.org. Do you ever 
> wonder why no one contributes on bugs.centos.org? Perhaps if you 
> understand my point in this paragraph then you will start to understand 
> why you have no contributors on bugs.centos.org? Generally when people 
> are made to feel like they are worthless inconveniences they will go 
> elsewhere. You can't just treat people like shit, say CentOS is a 
> meritocracy and you "cannot help their wounded feelings" and then wonder 
> why they don't want to help you :-)
> Which brings me to the point that great software developers do not 
> always make great managers of people or people's expectations - the two 
> skill sets are not mutually inclusive. I have said it before, and Marcus 
> has said it herein, maybe the CentOS Project could use a Community 
> Manager role - someone to be the public face of the project and 
> interface between the community and the core development team. Someone 
> like Akemi has time and time again demonstrated the required skills and 
> would be my nomination should such a role ever exist. This would also 
> free up valuable developer time to concentrate on development issues 
> rather than responding to media nonsense all over the place - let the 
> project speak with one voice and let that voice be one who understands 
> how to deal with the public. Just an idea.
> We had large parts of this discussion nearly a year ago in private and 
> were told things would improve. Since then nothing has changed and we're 
> having the same discussion again, this time in public. And again we are 
> told things will improve. Last time a lot of the concern stemmed around 
> the lag of the 5.3 release, being 10 weeks. We were told that processes 
> were being put in place to improve that situation. Now we're having this 
> discussion again in the midst of an ongoing 12 week lag (and counting) 
> for the release of 4.8. It seems to generally be moving in the wrong 
> direction.

I am personally on the 4.8 release now, it will move forward ... I
guarantee it.

We are not moving in the wrong direction ... trust me or not, I don't care.

> Russ is right, people are engaged in this discussion because they care 
> passionately about the project and want it to succeed. IMHO if CentOS 
> continues to ship a product based on a ~6 month update cycle where 3 
> months of the year security updates are late (more than the stated 72h) 
> and the other 3 months there are no security updates at all due to the 
> update lag period (now running at 12 weeks) required to produce the 
> product, then at least to me that is a major cause for concern.

Look ... if you understand how build work, and I know you do, then you
understand that one can not release updates that are built on 4.8
without releasing 4.8.

If you need the updates faster, feel free to pay Redhat for them.

> There - I feel so much better getting that lot off my chest :)

There are always other distros if you don't like this one ...

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