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Red Hat Software Businesses Linux Business Operating Systems Linux

Red Hat To Help Develop CentOS 186

An anonymous reader writes with news that Red Hat and the CentOS project are "joining forces" to develop the next version of CentOS. For years, CentOS has been a popular choice for users who want to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux without having to pay for it. Some of the CentOS developers are moving to Red Hat, but they won't be working on RHEL — they say the "firewall" between the two distros will remain in place. CentOS Project Chair Karanbir Singh said, 'The changes we make are going to be community inclusive, and promoted, proposed, formalised, and actioned in an open community centric manner on the centos-devel mailing list. And I highly encourage everyone to come along and participate.'
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Red Hat To Help Develop CentOS

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  • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InPursuitOfTruth ( 2676955 ) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @09:18PM (#45893781)
    That's what I was thinking. You have Centos in production, but now decide you want RHEL support. Why should you have to choose between reinstalling your production environment, or just giving RHEL their money and being done with it? I suspect that RH will remove this barrier to paying or support by offering support for Centos.
  • by deconfliction ( 3458895 ) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @09:56PM (#45893969)

    you know, in some sense you just convinced me that the CentOS 6 debacle could well have been the motivating factor here. Basically RH was cheapskately depending on CentOS for it's overall business strategy (same way microsoft turned a blind eye to piracy in China), and CentOS basically retaliated by being unable or unwilling to invest energy to get the early v6 releases done anywhere near in time to the corresponding RH releases. And thusly, RH now has to respond by actually ponying up the effort to keep the CentOS community more viable. I.e. the quicker they can get people on CentOS-7, the quicker they can cash in on the substantial percentage of those that eventually want the RHEL7 support level. For this and other good reasons mentioned in the comments, I wonder why I'm still so shocked by this move... I guess it's like the end of cannabis prohibition. Something so blazingly obviously ignored for so long, that when people finally get around to doing the obvious right thing, it's - breathtaking. Sad, but true.

  • Re:Odd... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @09:58PM (#45893975)

    "At least Red Hat can then give them the option to easily upgrade to RHEL without forcing them to reinstall their systems."

    It's good for Red Hat in that knowledge of CentOS means knowledge or Red Hat and time investment on CentOS means *not* investing time in anything else but... please go read what Red Hat has to say about upgrading major releases: "please, don't do it; you should reinstall".

  • by waffle zero ( 322430 ) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @10:06PM (#45894021) Journal

    To understand this, you have to understand the relationship Red Hat Enterprise Linux has with recompile derivatives. While the compiled RPMs for RHEL cost money and are not redistributable without a license, the source RPMs are nearly all open source. Anyone with a RHEL license can download the RHEL SRPMs and do a recompile. This was great for people who want a RHEL-alike without paying for licenses and CentOS (and then Scientific Linux) came into existence. Red Hat was pleased with this because it gave a cheap way for enterprise customers to try RHEL and eventually become customers who pay for licenses/support.

    Then came Oracle Linux who did the exact same thing as CentOS and Scientific Linux, but started charging for licenses and support outside of Red Hat's control. Red Hat wasn't pleased so they started packaging their SRPMs so instead of them containing upstream tarball with RH patch files, they would ship tarballs only or mega huge patch files without comments pointing to the relevent Red Hat bugzilla bug. This made it harder for Oracle to provide support to their customers, but it also had the effect of causing CentOS to get delayed by a good amount every new RHEL release.

    Without a quick turnaround on CentOS releases that match RHEL releases, it threatened to kill their "the first one is free" business model. And it probably caused some customers to switch to cheaper Oracle value-added distributors. So Red Hat's only remaining move is to make a relationship with CentOS official. Presumably most of the relationship with be done in private to keep Oracle from gaining an advantage.

  • by Tester ( 591 ) <olivier.crete@oc ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @10:11PM (#45894055) Homepage

    Don't forget Amazon EC2, etc.. Where you can get Ubuntu for cheap or RHEL for more $$ with a subscription, but installing CentOS you have to go through the "Store", I'm sure RedHat would prefer if people installed CentOS instead of Ubuntu..

  • by waffle zero ( 322430 ) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:03PM (#45894331) Journal
    The clause prevents you from installing a bunch of CentOS servers, paying for one RHEL license and then updating the CentOS with the RHEL repository RPMs (or private repository mirror). You're more than welcome to pay for a RHEL license for one server and update it with the RHEL repository RPMs and then have a farm of CentOS that you update with the CentOS repository RPMs. Other things that are OK: paying for one RHEL to have access to the Red Hat knowledge base and using that information to support your CentOS installs (with CentOS RPMs).
  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:38PM (#45894551) Homepage Journal

    Close, but there are a few important points to add:

    First, compiling CentOS 6 wasn't just a matter of re-compiling the SRPM's. The big patches don't make recompiling harder, it makes support harder (which is meant to hurt Oracle, as you said).

    What killed the release of CentOS 6 in a timely manner was all the build dependencies. To get an exact binary-compatible RPM for foo.el6 you needed to build it on, say, Fedora 13, with libbar-verisonX.Y.Z.fc13 installed. It wasn't self-hosting or documented how to build el6. Scientific Linux came out much more quickly because they didn't care about binary compatibility.

    Why is this important? To validate the security of both RHEL and CentOS. If you can reproduce the binary from source you're an order of magnitude better off than trusting a blob. If you have all the same dependencies as your upstream, you can get third parties to also certify you.

    After some initial handwringing about protecting Redhat's interests, CentOS agreed to disclose the build process so others could validate their work. The arguments about how it was going to happen lasted a few months, but came out on the side of openness.

    I can't imagine that CentOS will abandon this transparence for el7, because they would lose the community's trust in the code. So the leverage against Oracle has to be something else. There are other ways to marginalize Oracle's offering, and Oracle itself participates in that to a certain degree.

  • by waffle zero ( 322430 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:12AM (#45894689) Journal
    I guess that by blessing CentOS, more companies will start offering paid CentOS support. This has the benefit of marginalizing Oracle Linux and pushing back against Ubuntu server marketshare growth.
  • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @04:54AM (#45895871)
    It's exactly like Windows. If someone is using your operating system (whether they bought it or not), then they're not using your rival's operating system. You're not necessarily making money now but you are denying money to the other crowd, and the user in time may ultimately develop skills or produce something that does make you money in future.

    So some guy fiddling around with CentOS to knock together a website has skills which are easily transferrable to Red Hat because it's almost identical aside from some logos and text.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings