[CentOS] Upstream and downstream (was Re: What are the differences between systemd and non-systemd Linux distros?)

Fri Oct 19 00:52:12 UTC 2018
Japheth Cleaver <cleaver at terabithia.org>

On 10/18/2018 4:41 PM, Warren Young wrote:
> On Oct 18, 2018, at 9:41 AM, mark <m.roth at 5-cent.us> wrote:
>> people are tired of screaming and yelling about
>> systemd, because we've had years now of the response being "tough, it's
>> the Wave of the Future"
> We covered that back when RHEL 7 was still in beta: the time is far too late to change the init system of RHEL 7.  The fact that you’re tired of being ignored doesn’t enter into it: you could still be yelling about it, and it still wouldn’t change.  Red Has simply isn’t going to swap out its Enterprise Linux init system within a major release cycle.
> I believe it’s certain that RHEL 8 (and thus CentOS 8) will also be systemd-based, since we’d be hearing about the change by now via Fedora if it were otherwise.
This brings to mind a video I was pointed to not long ago of Brendan 
Conoboy's talk at a Dojo recently:


For quite a long time, many (perhaps most) folks had assumed that Fedora 
functioned more or less directly as the internal alpha for RHEL, with a 
branch at some point occurring, followed by pruning of packages, 
hardening, vendor testing, and release. Subsequently, CentOS (even after 
the RH integration) functioned *strictly* as a clean-room downstream 
rebuild, with the ability to do unsupported things, like alternate 
architectures, or heavier kernels, restricted to what could be done 
while maintaining a 100% binary compatible rebuild. Any contributions 
back up where taken to be incidental, from CentOS users reporting bugs 
that could be verified against RHEL.

Conoboy, on the other hand, takes great pains during the speech to 
describe a much more fluid and complex interaction between CentOS and 
its upstream, and puts forth CentOS as a mechanism (perhaps the best 
mechanism) for the winder EL community to contribute (something?) back 
into RHEL's future. He also gives clear signals that various Fedora 
steps have been in directions that Red Hat did not want EL necessarily 
going, and that the simplistic assumptions we've commonly been making 
aren't really correct.

Obviously, there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy there.

The wider EL community is trapped between a rock and a hard place 
somewhat. If you try to direct Fedora into the needs of EL users, you 
stand a good chance of getting told to pound stand, and that EL is 
getting in the way of bleeding-edge progress. Traditionally, CentOS has 
had its hands tied since it aims to be 100% compatible with upstream. 
Red Hat (and Red-Hat-as-a-sponsor-of-CentOS) might do well to clarify 
just what type of back-and-forth it wants out of the wider EL-using 
community. Does it want direct feedback in the form of tickets? Should 
people form SIGs? Obviously RHEL7 is not changing init systems, but 
where should one talk about the future?

>> Poettering is like upper management: they
>> know, I mean, Everything, so why should they need to talk to end users (or
>> working sysadmins)?
> The suggestion that Red Hat is not listening to working system administrators beggars belief.  That’s pretty much the basis of their company’s major income stream.
> What Red Hat is not doing is filling every demand from all working system administrators.  They’re choosing which demands to address, as any software project management must.

This seems a bit specious. How many working SA's and Engineers at paid 
shops call up their Red Hat rep for something like this? This isn't the 
type of thing you demand a strategy conference call from them for unless 
you're absolutely huge, or you have a very bored manager. People just 
complained (heavily) about it internally, went back to fixing the latest 
crisis, and hoped the adults working on RHEL would do the right thing 
when it came to reliability. I'm sure Red Hat understands that looking 
at the financials of dropped licenses and counting up the total of any 
vague, complaining support tickets are not the whole picture.

On the other point (while keeping personalities out of it)... I think EL 
users are likely to have more experience in large, enterprise 
organizations -- the kind of orgs where technical decisions sometimes 
take a back seat to politics. Everyone's seen a land grab in person, and 
everyone's seen, and probably done themselves -- I know I have, 
techniques for getting a toe-hold, leveraging it into a larger area of 
control, and ensuring your project becomes pretty much indispensable. 
The suggestion that this has occasionally happened at Red Hat and that 
questionable technical situations might have resulted doesn't seem 
unreasonable, even if it is indeed out of scope for this list.