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

Sat Oct 20 04:10:45 UTC 2018
Brendan Conoboy <blc at redhat.com>

On Fri Oct 19 00:52:12 UTC 2018 Japheth Cleaver wrote:
 > This brings to mind a video I was pointed to not long ago of Brendan
 > Conoboy's talk at a Dojo recently:
 > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQsUdLPJW20

Hey, that's me!  Hi.  By the way, Jim Perrin did an updated version of 
this talk *today* at CERN in my absence (thanks Jim!).  Hopefully the 
video will be posted soon.  I expect we'll be doing updated versions 
of these at Devconf, future Dojos, etc- as things progress.

 > 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.

This is roughly true for new releases (plus or minus the kernel), but 
not for subsequent minor release updates.  It is a shame because so 
much great work happens in Fedora between major RHEL releases.

 > 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.

You might be reading into this more than is there.  It's not so much 
that things are fluid as it is that they are undefined.  There is no 
clear, consistent way for a member of the Fedora or CentOS 
communities, who create something great, to have that thing make its 
way into an update of an existing RHEL major release.  Defining that 
path, making it possible, would be win for all.

 > 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?

Man, it breaks my heart when I read things like this.  There might be 
some historic truth to the above, but it doesn't have to be the 
future.  The objective I mentioned near the end of the talk has been 
posted, but not yet voted on:


The beauty of community is that it can grow and shift according to the 
needs of its members.  To me it looks like the lifecycle objective may 
be a partial answer to how Fedora, RHEL, and CentOS communities can 
reach a state of fluidity, a virtuous cycle.  The thing that makes it 
the most likely to succeed is if members of the Fedora, RHEL, and 
CentOS communities work on it together.  I hope those reading this who 
are interested in that join in.

Brendan Conoboy / RHEL Development Coordinator / Red Hat, Inc.