[CentOS] CentOS Project Infrastructure

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 18:42:00 UTC 2009

nate wrote:
>> *sigh*... Don't take this as a complaint about the quality of the
>> project, just the PR vibes here. You aren't giving people the warm
>> fuzzies about the project's ability to survive when you make it come
>> across as having a stranglehold of control.  If we wanted a one man show
>> we'd probably be using whitebox.  Things happen - people need backups.
>> We'd feel better if you shared your contingency plans.
> I think he did - use RHEL, it's a drop in replacement. Red Hat seems
> to be a pretty healthy company at this point and I at least don't
> expect them to go away in the near-mid term.

No, that's a possible contingency plan for each of us if the Centos 
project dies.  SL is another.  But, will the Centos project really die 
if Johnny gets hit by a bus?  That's not what you expect from something 
called a 'community' project - you expect someone else to be able to 
step in instead of suddenly leaving everyone to fend for themselves 

> I'm kind of surprised of some of the folks on this list how high
> their expectations are of the CentOS team, they do the best that they
> can, they don't require anything in return, though I'm sure they
> appreciate donations and stuff.

That's what happens when you do things right for several years...

>> about your ability to continue the best balance possible, I don't think
>> you are saying the right things to inspire public confidence.
> I'd rather the team be honest(which it seems they have been) on
> their expectations and stuff rather than spin PR stuff to boost
> themselves/distribution.

I'm not asking them to be dishonest because I don't doubt their 
abilities and really don't expect the project to fail if a person or two 
drops out or has some time issues. I think they can be honest and still 
say the project has a plan and infrastructure to continue.  They just 
haven't said it that way yet.

> As time goes on it seems more and more sad the volumes of folks
> that seem to believe everything should be free and at the same
> time work perfectly, the number of corporations that base their
> systems/products off of CentOS is pretty big, and I'd be surprised
> if they contributed anywhere near the value of the product back
> into the community.

Don't forget that the biggest reason Centos works perfectly is the 
quality control that has gone into the code base before they touch it. 
That's not to belittle the amount of work they have to do or their 
competence in not breaking it while making the required changes, but 
really we'd all be better off if Red Hat still permitted binary 
redistribution as they did back when they acquired their base of 
community support.

> It's a fight I have on occasion even at my company, where some
> people want to replace solutions that they previous paid for
> with free ones just because they are "free". I think in those
> situations companies should at least strongly consider some sort
> of contribution back to the community, the easiest is just in some
> $$, but contributing code and fixes would be nice too, but companies
> that do that seem to be very few and far between. Going with
> RHEL can be a good compromise, which is one reason I'm pushing
> for RHEL here as a good chunk of what is paid for RHEL goes to
> the open source community in the form of developer hours and stuff.

Don't forget that most of the code doesn't originate with RHEL either 
and the applications we really care about running mostly aren't unique 
to any particular distribution.

> Unfortunate times we are in..

On the contrary, we have an embarrassment of choices - so many that one 
of the big deciding factors has to be a consideration of the project's 
likely ability to survive.  Centos has been and probably will continue 
to be among the best.  I just wish they'd say so in terms that give 
confidence in the future.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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