[CentOS] Community voice (was [CentOS-announce] Release for CentOS Linux 7 (1503 ) on x86_64)

Fri Apr 3 15:07:07 UTC 2015
Valeri Galtsev <galtsev at kicp.uchicago.edu>

On Fri, April 3, 2015 9:31 am, Phelps, Matthew wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 2:19 AM, Tim Bell <Tim.Bell at cern.ch> wrote:
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: centos-bounces at centos.org [mailto:centos-bounces at centos.org] On
>> > Behalf Of Karanbir Singh
>> > Sent: 03 April 2015 01:00
>> > To: centos at centos.org
>> > Subject: Re: [CentOS] [CentOS-announce] Release for CentOS Linux 7
>> (1503
>> ) on
>> > x86_64
>> >
>> > On 02/04/15 21:35, Phelps, Matthew wrote:
>> >
>> > > See my reply earlier. The description of the centos-devel list says
>> > > "this is strictly about development."
>> >
>> >
>> > Matt, come join the contributor base - be a commnuity communication
>> liason (
>> > or, I am sure we can find a title to quantify this ).
>> >
> I can't take on any further time sinks. But see my comments below. I
> question the need for such a thing.
>> stretching this a bit futher : lets see if we can find 10 people who
>> might be
>> > considered 'community beacons', who could / would act as commnuity
>> comms
>> > and liason to make sure we are driving in the right directions and
>> communicating
>> > things in the most impactful manner.
>> >
>> > I am willing to lobby the board to then allow this group to spectate
>> and
>> > feedback into Board Meetings ( we meet once a month ).
>> >
> It strikes me that RedHat spends money to do this with their customers. So
> why not just do what RedHat does? Is that not the core philosophy of
> CentOS? It's a non-commercial repackaging of RHEL. Why go in a different
> direction in the first place?
> I understand things have evolved beyond that simplistic viewpoint, but
> perhaps CentOS should go back in that direction(?). It certainly would
> have
> avoided this kerfuffle.
> If external forces are moving CentOS towards becoming an entirely
> different
> distro, then break the cord. Make the choice clear. (And tell us why, if
> possible.)
>> Limiting the influence of the community to spectate and feedback seems
>> less than I would expect. If community involvement in governance is to
>> be
>> improved, it needs to be seen to make a difference. OpenStack has
>> ambassadors
>> (https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Community/AmbassadorProgram)
>> and elections to the 1/3 of the board from the community. This is
>> probably
>> too heavy for CentOS but some form of community representation with a
>> genuine voice in governance would seem reasonable for an open source
>> project.
>> However, with the board rules as defined in
>> http://www.centos.org/about/governance/joining-the-project/, it is
>> difficult for someone who is a user of CentOS as opposed to a developer
>> to
>> meet the merit criteria. The current CentOS board membership would
>> benefit
>> from more diversity and different outlooks to help identify changes
>> which
>> need further community input such as this one.
>> > One data point I want to drop in here is that less than 0.1 % of the
>> CentOS user
>> > base has any contact with the project ( wherein I imply, lists +
>> forums
>> + irc +
>> > bugs + wiki ), so we might need to spread the net wide to find a
>> reasonable
>> > representation.
>> >
>> > thoughts ?
>> >
> These numbers surprise me. Again, what about the RedHat customer base? The
> 20,000+ facebook users who "liked" the CentOS page may be another source
> of
> different opinions. Perhaps the developers/board should engage them?
>> The challenge here is to find the appropriate people to help since many
>> will be paid for delivering value to their companies rather than being
>> paid
>> to work on CentOS. Given their limited time, I do not feel that
>> requiring
>> operators to follow a development list is the right solution to
>> encourage
>> more interaction.
>> Tim
> I agree with Tim. CentOS does need to do a much better job communicating
> with their customers. And, yes, we are customers. Along with that, the
> "public facing" members of the Community/developers need to be better
> communicators. Statements like "This is how it's going to be. I suggest
> you
> familiarize yourself with it" aren't endearing to the project.

Fully agree. Let me add just general thing what I came to, which may help
some of the users and maybe the developer team in their view of changes
they think to implement.

When I start feeling particular distribution does not fill the bill of
requirements, I (realizing I will not be able to affect its future route)
just start looking for different distribution which is more suitable and
will not deflect from being such for some future to come. This happen to
my servers which fled to FreeBSD (sorry about mentioning it). My number
crunchers and clusters do not have that luxury to be able to flee Linux
(there are too many thing they need to run which are available for Linux
only). Therefore, the future process of fleeing these (if necessary) will
be inside Linux subset of distros, again, when/if it is necessary (CentOS
7 made it solid "when"). So it likely will be Devuan (systemd-free fork of
Debian) when (if?) it matures enough - some time down the road.

I wrote this not to annoy anyone, but to give those at the "strategic
decision" level the picture of what evolution you can expect from regular
sysadmin. In other words, once you have become extremely popular
distribution (to the level you even provide paid jobs), if you started
making changes to what you are as a distribution, changes of a kind that
some commercial company can make more profit as a result, what I described
will start happening. Great company, BTW, RedHat is! I use CentOS by
keeping in mind that my University has RedHat contract, so they (RH) are
getting paid for the great job they are doing. But I use CentOS as it is
great distribution for which everything is readily accessible for me (no
"pilot" server hassle...), say, in case of emergency if I just need to get
packages, and there is no server (which may have downtime) is between me
and what I need.

Not meant to be a rant, but meant to give the "strategic decision makers"
a view of what on a regular sysadmin level they can expect.


Valeri Galtsev
Sr System Administrator
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of Chicago
Phone: 773-702-4247