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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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  • by yoghurt ( 2090 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:24AM (#28908929)

    Hiking that Appalachian trail can be tricky. I hear it goes all the way to Argentina.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      2. Kidnapped by space aliens; managed to escape when they neglected to secure the Dilithium Crystal Hatch.

      3. My grandmother died. No, not the one that died six months ago, or the one that died a year before that; this was my *biological* grandmother.

      4. Didn't realize the batteries on my beeper died.

      5. Met an old classmate from Yale, who gave me GHB and tried to induct me into the Skulls organization. Managed to escape by commandeering a single shell and out-rowing their eight-man shell.

      6. Just came back f

  • 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.

  • Did he... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jsse ( 254124 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:32AM (#28908999) Homepage Journal
    reappear in front of the team one day, with bloodstain and mud all over his body, and yelled "I'm single, AGAIN!".
  • If this is what constitutes a "routine meeting" for them, I'd shudder to think what an extraordinary meeting would be like.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      My guess is the CentOS-folk have routine meetings, but he is usually not present, now he was.

  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Macka ( 9388 )

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

    • Unless you are hiking the Appalachians!

    • Anyone that CARES about their role can take any time off they need/want. Just LET EVERYONE ELSE KNOW that you are going on vacation or sabbatical or whatever and when you are expected back. Communication is the key. Just "disappearing" without telling people is not suitable behavior for anyone- a parent, a friend, a SO, an employer, an employee, a government official, even a volunteer. It is just plain rude, immature, and inconsiderate.

  • by Linker3000 ( 626634 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:40AM (#28909075) Journal

    Good news.

    Here I am in my sickbed writing rsync scripts for cross-site backups between CentOS-based servers, and seeing the headline made me smile, in-between fits of coughing.

    If by some amazing chance Karanbir Singh see this - I promise to rack up the dual Itanium server for IA64 testing and dev as soon as I get back to work and clean up a few other outstanding issues.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kbsingh ( 138659 )


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

      and hope coughing isnt too manic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Linker3000 ( 626634 )

        Ha - thanks for that. I'll live!!

        Signed off at the moment so lots of time to 'do stuff' at home.

        Two other 'urgent' projects crashed my plans for the Dell server but I'll let you know when I get back on track.

        Glad to see things seem to be moving in the right direction for you and the rest of the core team.

  • "As if by magic, the Cent OS Admin appeared." []

  • by rikrebel ( 132912 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:56AM (#28909201)

    This whole story is unnerving.

    CentOS is widely used in datacenters due to it's red-hattyness, it's Long Term Support, and conservative adoption of whizbang.

    It's by far my favorite distrobution for important servers.

    I have already had two meetings over this and had my team start their proposals for alternate LTS distros and a migration plan. I am sure I am not the only one.

    If the CentOS project manages to remove this single point of failure I think confidence will return. But I think I'll keep my projects going for a while just in case.

    • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @12:07PM (#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.

      • Lance Davis is AWOL for almost a year

        You punch up 911 when you first smell the smoke - not when your house has burnt down to ashes.

        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

        Confidence? Confidence?

        To me this story reads more like a Chinese Fire Drill []

        • by jjohnson ( 62583 )

          For all the handwringing here, it's worth remembering that this was a pretty small issue. Davis controls the domain, the IRC channels, and the PayPal account. Nothing about continuing to release the distribution was ever threatened by his absence. It's ultimately small potatoes. The house hasn't burnt down, and there wasn't smoke in the first place. They got 5.3 out the door with no help from Lance at all. This is about administrative issues.

          Confidence? Confidence?

          Sure. They had a problem with one o

    • by slyborg ( 524607 )

      You know, the credibility of all the handwringing about people using CentOS in mission critical deployments all upset about the maintainer gone missing is kind of undermined by the fact that it's, you know, free stuff that some guys put out there, and that, you know, you don't want to pay for so WHY IS IT ON AN IMPORTANT SERVER??

      So maybe this CentOS dust-up is a good thing to make people wake up and realize that perhaps they really should be on Red Hat Enterprise, which has commercial support and is develop

  • 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).

    • utter bullshit, proprietary corporations have exactly the same issues, and even with world-wide scandals a thousand times worse than this even with murders and spy intrigue. Mountains compared to this little anthill chickenshit issue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cenc ( 1310167 )


        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 s

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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 analys

      • by cenc ( 1310167 )

        Something like ISO certifications. Perhaps not exactly that, but the general idea. It would likly give FOSS a boost of professionalism, build confidence, and overall improve the reputation and adoption of FOSS in both public and private sector.

        How often in using FOSS in biz and just average desktop use do we have software that really is the best thing since sliced bread, but we have to hesitate to adopt it because the project behind it is of questionable status? How often does that rub off on on other FOSS

    • I get tense whenever I come across this kind of CYA posturing which tends to invoke more double standards than a house of mirrors.

      More charges may be filed in HP case []

      Ousted Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and former ethics chief Kevin Hunsaker surrendered, were booked and released Thursday, a day after being charged -- along with three private investigators -- with felonies for their roles in HP's spying scandal.

      Ethics officer dragged off in handcuffs, did it really hurt HP's business? What was it all about? It was about keeping their dirty laundry behind closed doors, no matter how appalling or borderline illegal.

      I'm more of a KTB than a CYA. KTB = kill the bastards

      CentOS is an example of "life happens". Interesting how many uninformed people who

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      I think you're missing the picture here. You can throw any amount of certification at something and it wouldn't matter: CentOS is a piece of software that benefits my company. If CentOS or whatever product I use stops working (or deteriorates some way), I've got to maintain it myself, or migrate away from it.

      I can't rely on CentOS, or Windows, or my IBM mainframe working perpetually. Thats why we pay for support, pay for the assurance that the software / hardware / whatever keeps on working as long as I nee

  • I use CentOS for most of my servers (except 2 nameservers), and was really hoping for a fork... mainly so that they rename it to something that doesn't suck, and so that they get a better logo and icon. Seriously... the CentOS logo and icon suck...
    • by gmuslera ( 3436 )
      A fork of a fork? Why dont go to an other RH derivative like i.e. scientific linux? As they are all based in the same distribution (basically a repack of it) all should be more or less the same.
    • Jeez, your life must be one peachy rose garden if all you have to worry about is a logo and icon that appear sucky to you.

  • 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.

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek