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CentOS Administrator Reappears 211

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 and 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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  • More likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:29AM (#28908979)

    Lance realized this very public oops wasn't going to do anything for his future employment prospects. A shame it had to come to that, but sometimes you need to upgrade from a feather to a cattle prod to get results.

  • Two weeks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MaizeMan ( 1076255 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:39AM (#28909061) Homepage
    He'd been invisible for more than two weeks. Once you're in a position of responsibility like that the longest you can disappear without making prior plans is maybe a long weekend. Which sucks because sometimes you're going to want to crawl into a hole and ignore what has gone wrong with the world but you don't have that freedom when people are counting on you.
  • Re:More likely (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:40AM (#28909073)

    Yep, you do have a point. I don't think I'll be using CentOS for anything mission critical going forward either.

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

    by PixelSmack ( 837457 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:55AM (#28909193)
    I totally agree, unfortunately i administer a few centOS boxes at work. This will be bought up and i will argue for moving to a more open community distro which is a shame because i quite like centOS - however if it can not be relied upon like that it just looks bad.
  • Re:More likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:55AM (#28909197) Homepage

    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.

    If by "CentOS" you're talking about the domain and some IRC channels, you're right. If by "CentOS" you mean updating and developing the operating system, you're wrong. Any open source project is always about the developers behind it. There are many developers involved in this project, and the project itself isn't dependent any any one of them.

    My guess is the thing you care about is the OS and not a domain name. Drawing conclusions from tone and not facts is just a bad practice in general.

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

    by sabernet ( 751826 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:56AM (#28909205) Homepage

    "relying on one person for as much as seemingly their very existence"

    Ssssh! Do you want to start a flamewar with the Apple fans too?

    ....sorry, had to :)

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

    by operator_error ( 1363139 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:57AM (#28909217)

    The philosophy that has been applied to Debian development has served it well over the years. Consider using either it, or a derivative like Ubuntu. Since I have chosen this path, I've had no regrets.

    This is a complete debacle for CentOS.

  • Re:More likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Linker3000 ( 626634 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:05PM (#28909283) Journal

    Do you not think that the issues at the heart of your (very valid) concerns are now being addressed - albeit a little later than they should have been?

    I think the situation with CentOS's command and control structure merits monitoring for a short while to see how things settle down.

    FWIW I have around 10 servers running various versions of CentOS and am keeping an eye on developments.

  • by cenc ( 1310167 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:11PM (#28909315) Homepage

    Everyone will jump on this as proof that open source projects can not be trusted or relied on. Now, that may or may not be true. This instance really is not a poster child for problems with FOSS projects. We are talking about a project based on repackaging and rebranding a commercial distro. The heavy lifting is done by RH and other projects.

    This should be food for thought however about other projects, which there are many many instances of FOSS project management issues leaving users high and dry because of political issues.

    We really need some better organizational standards for FOSS project management, not just high quality code. Remember the segment of society we are talking about. They might be great at programing or whatever, but they rarely have the leadership and organization skills to handle a project once it reaches a critical mass of popularity or use.

    One of the first things I have to do, after years of using FOSS, is look at the project and see how healthy it is before deciding to implement it in my biz. I have to do things like look at how many projects have derived work from it, who is contributing to it, how alive is the forum community both for developers and users, development cycles, and so on.

    What we really need is some sort of organizational certification. Something that an end user of FOSS or other FOSS project can with one glance determine what is the status of the organization and the project. Especially the large important ones. Are there for example policies in place to handle the death of the head of the project? Is there a formal system for order of succession? Is there policy for archiving legacy code and related information?

    The worse thing that can happen to a FOSS project is a cult of personality forming around just one person ( that is more than just PR).

  • by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:14PM (#28909337)

    That's absurd, C# wasn't released until 2000.

    Everyone knows the Reagan-bot's software was written in Lisp.

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

    by Macka ( 9388 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:15PM (#28909347)

    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.

    They did. Washing your dirty laundry in public is never pleasant, but in this case they needed to find a way to get Lance to engage and had run out of options. Shining a public spotlight on him seems to have done the trick, so it was the correct move.

    2. A cranky engineer screwing off for a few days is common enough that it was a non-story to begin with

    They've been trying to resolve this quietly for about a year and they were getting no where.

    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.

    Hm, I smell the fresh scent of manure in the air. From your tone I'd bet that you never have used CentOS for anything important, or you wouldn't be so quick to give it up. Not that this is going to be an issue for much longer, which makes your objection pointless.

  • by andre_pl ( 1607319 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:23PM (#28909395)
    .. but the Appalachain trail jokes arent funny. The first one wasn't even remotely funny, and the two dozen that followed it in the last post about this guy were annoyingly lame. This one is just way past the line. If I see the word Appalachian in this thread I'm going to stab my face with an icepick.
  • Re:More likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:25PM (#28909413) Homepage

    What's not to rely on? The distribution itself was never in danger. The only thing Lance controlled was the domain name, some IRC channels, and the PayPal account. Now Lance has handed those things over, and they'll move forward with a foundation to control the project.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:29PM (#28909459)
    you should know that when /.'ers say things like "I'd never use that for anything important" they mean either they wouldn't install it on the slack box they have set up with 6 years uptime on it or they would never use it to find/download/store pr0n.

    It's been my experience that most people who say things about not trusting this or that to mission critical production environments are not actually in any position to chose what happens in a production environment or are in fact not in need of any sort of production environment being as they don't actually *do* anything.
  • by cenc ( 1310167 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:40PM (#28909573) Homepage


    Yes, corporations have these problems also. When they don't deal with them, they go under. There is a reason why corporations sink so much time and money in to insuring they don't happen.

    These problems however are not so much similar to the problems you find in companies, but problems you find in none-profit organizations of any stripe. Places where ego is basis for much of the personal incentive for getting involved. Spend some time on your average neighborhood NGO board of directors, and you will see the very similar things happen to their projects.

  • by QuarkofNature ( 845690 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#28909689)
    At my company, we vet the software we use, both proprietary and FOSS, prior to using it in our systems. I think you raise some good points thing I have observed is that our "standards" for doing this analysis are very commercial-company-centric.

    The folks who do trade studies "get" how to look at company financials, strength, size, etc., to ensure that we aren't going down a bad path with a piece of proprietary software. Yet, in most cases, I see people at a loss of how to do equivalent analysis for FOSS products. It might be surprising to some people around here, but many still don't grasp just how different a developer-and-user community for a product is, compared to a corporation that produces software. And even for those of us who do understand the differences, it's still sometimes tricky to do a fair comparative analysis.

    Just as the OSI has tried to formalize what open source means, and helps vet licenses to make it easier for people wanting to use FOSS software, it might be very useful to come up with some standard measures of the health of FOSS projects, and start gathering that data in one place for popular ones.

  • by farrellj ( 563 ) * on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:59PM (#28909789) Homepage Journal

    Because if you are supporting CentOS systems in the field, it is easier to do so with a system that is running the same OS, as it, at very least, provides a system you can experiment with. It also means you will have the roughly same software load, and you won't be used to running apps that are not on the server. As well, replicating your server on your laptop also means having a system you can replicate a problem with, even if you are travelling. Of course, now that a 4 Gig laptop is possible, you could be running that replica system in a Virtual machine...I've been running Slackware 64 on my Laptop, and it is running very nicely. My main server also runs Slackware, but 32 bit, and has been running for a few years, with a few also has an AMD64, so I may move to that as it's next update.


  • Re:More likely (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @03:26PM (#28911089)
    Ubuntu has the backing of Canonical, and paid support is available if you need it - I don't see why people'd want to pay for it before they need it though.
  • Where's the money? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WombatDeath ( 681651 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @03:43PM (#28911201)

    People have been donating money to, presumably wishing to further the goals of the project. Is this money (plus the advertising revenue) still available for its intended purpose?

    Not accusing anyone of anything, but this question is quite important and doesn't seem to be addressed in the update.

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

    by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:27PM (#28912733)

    Amen to that. I now feel have no choice but to spurn CentOS as I would spurn a rabid dog.

    With a load of buckshot? That's a bit harsh!

  • by Ex-Linux-Fanboy ( 1311235 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:53AM (#28914753) Homepage Journal

    You're hardly a software developer - you aren't willing to find solutions yourself

    You know, I used to have this kind of attitude. Then I grew up.

    Did you know Dennis Ritchie uses Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Outlook to read email and post to Usenet? Have you every thought about why?

    The thing is this: everything works out of the box in Windows XP (well, except for the sound card, but the workaround is posted online and it about 15 minutes of bother to get going). I, at this point in my life, have better things to do with my time than to get things to work in Linux when they already work in Windows. Such as actually develop software.

    This is the problem with the Linux community at Slashdot. It's a very immature and insecure community; when people mention they have problems and are using Windows instead because of those problems, people react with denial and attack the messenger instead of being mature and acknowledging the problems.

    Excuse me, but I tried compiling various ALPS drivers in CentOS. I spent, oh, about 2 hours on it and, to make a long story short, it didn't work []. If the Linux community wants to flame me instead of trying to help me (or, at least being civil), that's fine. Your message is clear: You don't want people using Linux. You want people using Windows XP. You do not want to make Linux a viable desktop operating system.

    And, oh, about Ubuntu: It was very unstable for me, with constant crashes. I blogged all about it.

    Thanks for playing.

    Linux zealots piss me off.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"