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CentOS Administrator Reappears 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the bet-he-was-hiking-in-the-appalachian-trail dept.
str8edge sends word that Lance Davis, the CentOS project administrator who had mysteriously gone absent, has now returned and is working with the development team to get things back on track. From their announcement: "The CentOS Development team had a routine meeting today with Lance Davis in attendance. During the meeting a majority of issues were resolved immediately and a working agreement was reached with deadlines for remaining unresolved issues. There should be no impact to any CentOS users going forward. The CentOS project is now in control of the CentOS.org and CentOS.info domains and owns all trademarks, materials, and artwork in the CentOS distributions. We look forward to working with Lance to quickly complete all the agreed upon issues. More information will follow soon."
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CentOS Administrator Reappears

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  • by kbsingh (138659) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @10:55AM (#28909189) Homepage

    Hey,

    Awrite then, let me know when that IA64 machine comes online :D)

    and hope coughing isnt too manic.

  • Re:More likely (Score:3, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:02AM (#28909243)

    And CentOS relying on one person for as much as seemingly their very existence (by their own tone over this issue) has absolutely guaranteed that I will never use CentOS for anything important. This entire thing should never have been news in the first place for two reasons: 1. If the health of the company and their product is absolutely dependent on the well being of Lance, then they should have done everything they could to keep this story quiet, as it is embarrassing. 2. A cranky engineer screwing off for a few days is common enough that it was a non-story to begin with.

    Ok, I'm not real familiar with everything that is going on. However, it appears that this happened as a result of the rest of the CentOS development team pushing Lance to work with them in setting things up so that they weren't absolutely dependent on him. He appears to have been resisting this step.
    Rather than saying, "Too bad, CentOS is my baby and I'm not giving up control" he appears to have said, "Yeah, you're right. We need to have backups and I'll get you an accounting of the money we've raised." Then he never took any of the steps that would have allowed that to actually happen. When the phone calls and emails from the rest of the development team got insistent, he just stopped answering the phone or his emails.

  • Re:More likely (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:05AM (#28909285)

    You know, RedHat ES is only $349 a year. You could just migrate to RedHat ES and enjoy full support while still having the same features and environment as CentOS...

  • by jjohnson (62583) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:07AM (#28909299) Homepage

    Isn't that just what this article is about? Lance Davis is AWOL for almost a year, the rest of the project publishes an open letter, Davis shows up and hands over the keys. What more resolution is needed?

    In a way, this gives me some more confidence in CentOS, insofar as the rest of the admins were willing to "break glass in case of emergency" and deal with Davis' erratic leadership. They spent a long time trying to deal with it quietly and internally, but when it came down to it, they basically removed him the way all OSS projects end up doing it, with public pressure.

  • Re:Two weeks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Macka (9388) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:33AM (#28909503)

    No. According to the Open Letter from Ralph Angenendt that kick started all this Lance dropped off the CentOS radar sometime in 2008.

  • Re:More likely (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoralHazard (447833) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:35PM (#28910175)

    OK, how the hell did the parent poster get modded to +5, informative? He has the wrong facts on virtually EVERY important point. He could have read yesterday's Slashdot. article, or just Googled the damn story, but I guess he didn't have the time.

    Let's correct his factual problems, shall we?

      1) The CENTOS organization is not a "company", nor is the distro a "product". It's an informally-organized open source project, and the Linux distro they produce isn't sold or supported for profit by the project, itself. (There are many other companies that do provide CENTOS support contracts, though, and some of the developers may own/work for some of those companies.)

      2) The health of the CENTOS distro and organization were never "absolutely dependent" on Lance Davis. He controlled the project's domain name registration, the Google AdWords account, and a few other important resources. But these were inconveniences, at worst: Had Lance not responded to the open letter, the rest of the developers would simply have registered a new domain name, set up new repos/wikis/blogs, and copied the project data over. Lance would have been forgotten as the speed bump that he was. (And if Lance breaks his promises AGAIN and fails meet the latest deadlines, this is what we'll see happen.)

      3) Lance Davis didn't "screw off for a few days"--over the course of a year, he repeatedly made and broke promises, and failed to either provide accounting for the project's finances or to turn the relevent logins over to other group members. Then, he just stopped returning phone calls and emails, and he quit attending real-life and IRC meetings. Meanwhile, the Google AdWords account was raking in a few thousand dollars per month, and to all outward appearances, it looked a lot like Lance was just taking it for himself.

    THE REAL STORY:

    The lack of a formal structure (a la nonprofit incorporation, like Fedora or Debian) seems to be CENTOS's biggest problem, and the community's perception of this dispute does cloud the project's future. But like any open-source project, it's impossible for one person to be anything more than an inconvenience.

      * The source code repos and packages are globally mirrored by dozens of independent organizations, and Lance Davis never had control over any of them.

      * Domain registration, hosting, and such are cheap--even if some of the AdWords money were misappropriated, the developers could still pass the hat and/or offload bandwidth to the mirror providers. Hell, they could always move to SourceForge for free, if they were really desperate.

      * As long as the CENTOS core community learns its lesson, here, they can recover and grow stronger than before. They need to incorporate as a not-for-profit foundation, establish a board of directors, executive roles, accounting practices, and all the other structural crap that goes with it. It's not a trivial amount of work (in the US, at least--I don't know about the UK), but this episode demonstrates why successful, influential, long-lived F/OSS groups like the GNU, Debian, etc. have all decided to go this route.

    Finally, on a personal note, I would like to ask yttrstein why he feels compelled to burden the rest of us with his un-informed opinions on this topic. He could have easily researched the issue, in about 5 or 10 minutes, and perhaps contributed something worth reading.

  • by jroysdon (201893) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @03:24PM (#28911493) Homepage

    The developers we and are available and that never changed. Lance hadn't contributed in some time, and was really just wearing the "founder hat" and keys to the centos.org domain, irc found status, and paypal account.

  • Re:More likely (Score:2, Informative)

    by jfp51 (64421) <jfp51 AT hotmail DOT com> on Saturday August 01, 2009 @04:49PM (#28912049) Homepage
    Yes because the switch-over to whatever the 'new' distribution would have been called would have been so complicated, I mean the developers even stated in the open letter that: "(...)hot machines exist to allow for a cutover with a simple one time installation of one RPM package." Debacle indeed...
  • Re:Argentina (Score:3, Informative)

    by thejynxed (831517) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:14AM (#28915773) Homepage

    Ahhhh, young grasshoppa'. You shall be enlightened!

    A certain Republican Governor of South Carolina, Mr. Mark Sanford, claimed he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when in actuality, he was in Argentina getting his groove on with his Latina hoochie-mama. He's married, and was quite vocal about being "Pro-Family".

    Hence all of the jokes, and why 9/11 Repugs holding public office are hypocrites of the first magnitude.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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