[CentOS] Working with the upstream vendor

Giovanni Tirloni gtirloni at sysdroid.com
Sun Jul 10 02:37:15 UTC 2011

On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM, Digimer <linux at alteeve.com> wrote:

> On 07/09/2011 01:32 PM, Karanbir Singh wrote:
> > yes, we all clearly take that on board - I hope the changes we are
> > bringing in helps clear that, and prevent this sort of a situation. But
> > there are still lots of places for improvements, and over the next few
> > months lets try and address all of those.
> >
> > - KB
> Sorry for thread-jacking, but I wanted to start this thread in relation
> to your comment.
> As I understand it, a lot of the delay came from reproducing Red Hat's
> build environment. That being needed for the binary compatibility. With
> each new major release, the number of packages, and in turn, the amount
> of complexity grows.
> Is that a correct understanding? If so, then EL7 will be even harder to
> sort out and will lead to an even longer delay in release.
> I think there is a business case to be made for CentOS, from the point
> of view of Red Hat. My experience has been that a lot of
> people/companies start out on CentOS. After a while, those that succeed
> and do well eventually want to switch to Red Hat proper. As good as
> CentOS is, by it's very nature, it will always lag behind RHEL in so far
> as updates are concerned.
> Given all this; I think there is an argument for Red Hat wanting to
> assist CentOS. As we saw with this release, the delay drove people away
> from EL. I am sure many went to Debian or other non-EL distributions.
> Each of these defections is another potential future customer lost to
> Red Hat.
> If Red Hat could be convinced to help the CentOS team with things like
> setting up their build environment, they would help foster this
> potential customer base while investing minimal time and effort. Has
> anyone in the CentOS team approached Red Hat to discuss some sort of
> arrangement like this?
> As an anecdotal example; We've built our entire infrastructure on
> CentOS. Now, our clients who are doing well, we are moving to Red Hat
> proper while still using a lot of CentOS internally and for smaller
> clients. It's a very smooth fit and transition, thanks to CentOS's
> binary compatibility.
> Just an idea. Thanks for the hard work and I'm anxious to play with
> CentOS 6!
If Red Hat really wanted or cared about the customers you list here, it
could simply make RHEL a free download with security updates. That would
require very little spending on their side compared to duplicating their
build infrastructure at CentOS and supporting both environments (eg.
transfering their knowledge, what makes their product tick, to a open source
project where it could be copied by companies seeking to profit from it).

One could make a point that doing that would be a burden for Red Hat in
terms of additional head count required to support the non-paying customers
and the infrastructure costs, something they would have a hard time
promoting internally to shareholders. Let's imagine that all CentOS
contributors could be motivated to help RH in such imaginary efforts... RH
would be giving direct control of the quality of its product to outsiders.
Something already accomplished with Fedora.

Your idea is nice and it's looking at the right perspective, IMHO. However,
I don't feel it'll have much traction within Red Hat.

Right now I think it'd be more practical to request any help that is needed
(besides servers and hosting) and organize this work to reap the benefits of
a larger contributor base. But I'm just a CentOS user that hasn't
contributed anything besides promoting it and helping other users, so my
opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.

Giovanni Tirloni
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