[CentOS] CentOS Project Infrastructure

Ben Gore ben at cleosys.com
Mon Aug 10 04:38:04 UTC 2009

To all, especially the developers, people who work on the support 
documents in their various forms, and everyone who contributes their 
knowledge to this project:

I am another one of those people who reads the lists frequently, but 
usually don't have much to contribute since there are many others who 
are MUCH more knowledgeable than I am.

But one thing I do find, and appreciate immensely is the simple fact 
that almost every time I have a problem all I have to do is a search on 
it, and without fail the answer is either there, or is under discussion 
in the forums or mailing lists, most often with a solution or 
workaround. Or, a discussion leads me to check for symptoms of a 
problem, thus minimizing future downtime.

These reasons are why I use CentOS! It just works (I think there is 
supposed to be a (tm) there?) And when it doesn't the solution is close 
at hand.

I don't run a lot of stuff on CentOS right now, just 2 or 3 servers 
mostly for my personal use. But I am in a position where I may be (would 
like to be) using it a lot more in the future, so I certainly would like 
to see the project grow and flourish.

I have been heavily involved in a very ego-centric environment for 
years, public safety - in both paid and volunteer positions. While I 
think from what I've read the CentOS developers and other "inside track" 
folks are no where near as ego-driven as others I have seen. I do think 
that they take great pride in their work, as they should, and thus 
defend it to the end.

IMHO, there are just a couple of simple things to say about releases, 
release contents, and timing of releases. And I apologize because 
probably this has all been said before, and I believe are reflections of 
the main goals of the project:

1. New versions and updates of CentOS should become available ONLY when 
the developers are satisfied that they are ready to be released. If 
pushed out too quickly, there will just be more (avoidable) problems. 
The "why isn't version x.xx available" has been and can continue to be 
given the simple answer "because it's not ready yet".

2. Other "supplementary" packages should be available as they currently 
are, in the various additional repos, and that's where they should stay. 
The maintainers of these repos do a great job. No need for CentOS to 
duplicate or "compete" with that effort. CentOS is first and foremost a 
distribution that is binary-compatible with the "upstream provider". 
Anything else is something different.

3. The CentOS project is made up of volunteers. While the "insiders" may 
achieve some level of notoriety by being involved in it, in all the 
volunteer positions I've been involved with, the labor and hassle takes 
much more "out" than is "returned" by any notoriety. The aforementioned 
pride usually makes up the difference. If this difference isn't made up 
somehow, the person becomes a candidate for burnout.

4. Should the CentOS project introduce compensation to certain people in 
the future, do it with EXTREME caution. I have been involved with 
several volunteer organizations which changed dramatically (not for the 
better) upon introduction of some kind of payment system. Often it was 
because people then became involved or stayed involved for the wrong 
reasons. And there was also a sometimes a PR problem from outsiders. 
Instead of doing what we were doing because we wanted to, we would get 
"why won't you do x, y and z. You're getting paid for it". It didn't 
matter that the "payment" was pennies.

This cycle of turmoil in organizations is very common! One organization 
I'm involved with goes through it about every 5 years. The people who 
are in it for the wrong reasons usually quit, and the ones who are in it 
for the right reasons compromise. I won't say it makes the organization 
stronger, but sure keeps it interesting.

I am certainly not opposed to some of the heavy lifters getting some 
compensation for their work, but the project should be ready for some of 
this kind of noise should it come to pass.

Hopefully I will be in a position to contribute, both financially and in 
other ways to the best of my ability sometime within the next year.

But for now, I will say keep up the good work and ...  Thank You!


More information about the CentOS mailing list