Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is CentOS Dieing?

There must be serious issues within the project though the core personnel don't acknowledge it!

RHEL 6 was released on 2010-11-10, RHEL 5.6 was released on 2011-01-13 and RHEL 6.1 Beta was released on 2011-03-22. Both Scientific Linux and OEL have released v. 5.6 and 6. CentOS counterparts are nowhere to be found. With every date slipping seems CentOS 6 will see the light of the day sometime in May 2011. Probably Redhat will push 6.1 through the door by then. The long delay (almost 5 months) in bringing out v.6 has triggered some black-comedy posts in the CentOS fora such as : "The 'C' in CEntOS means 'Closed'!" and "Things are getting from EL6 to HELL6.

I don't know why such annoying delay in rebuilding packages from a stable upstream. CentOS 6.0 development is not development proper, but the rebuilding of some hundreds of packages. CentOS has an easier job of doing a release. Projects such as Debian and FreeBSD do a heck of a lot more. It's multiple times more difficult to release a new FreeBSD or Debian than it is to do a rebuild. Wonder how long it would take to rebuild the system if CentOS base system would have the number of packages that Debian has. Both Oracle and Scientific Linux also do a lot more than just debranding and recompiling, but they don't slip the dates like CentOS, and if at all they do, there's due communication for the same.

CentOS now follows what? SL, OEL? Why this late-to-the-party strategy? What is the aim of CentOS? A simple technical satisfaction? If so, it should be out of the way and drop that Enterprise tag. The lack of communication regarding the state of development and this unprecedented delay in the major releases steadily turning it into a hobbyst's distribution. The lack of communication also seems like a deliberate decision to keep users in the dark. They should come up and say users that the project is closing and that they should look for alternatives, preferably Scientific Linux. CentOS had promised (though, of late some centos guys deny) regular updates within 72 hours, security errata with BugFix and Enhancement errata within 2 weeks after more rigorous testing. Now the delay is serious enough!

There's apprehension that Centos is probably not going to survive for long. The developer group is really too small and the method that they use to prepare and subsequently deploy Centos is too slow. Scientific Linux and OEL are infinitely superior in every way (paid developers, planned schedules, better communication, etc). IMO, Scientific Linux is no less stable, it's just that CentOS has gained the reputation for the earlier timely and good releases. And there's this inertia of change on the mindshare. However, the recent irregularity will definitely force a lot of CentOS user to move to Scientific Linux, and it's for good.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This link says CentOS releases every two years and updates the hardware profiles every 6 months. It's not their goal to follow every RHEL release.
http://wiki.centos.org/

Anonymous said...

But as Manmath noted, CentOS promises to bring out point as well as major releases in couple of weeks. This time the delay is so long that it seems better if just skip the releases and get ready for 5.7 and 6.1 when RHEL sends them out of the door.

Anonymous said...

The core team CentOS re-packers are mostly free lance consultants doing other work to feed the kids. If you are serious, why don't you hire one of them to work full-time on your Cantos 5.6 or 6.0 needs ?

Or help out ?

Anonymous said...

What is the point of CentOS? If it is to be a communtity _Enterprise_ Linux it should at least make security updates available within a week or so of the upstream vendor releasing them.

With delays of several months between Red Hat releasing a new point version and CentOS releasing their corresponding version means that browsers, web servers, kernels etc. can contain major security flaws for many weeks after the exploit has been published and fixed by Red Hat.

The delay in CentOS getting new releases out isn't a problem, the delay that causes in getting security fixes released is.

Regarding the release schedule stated on the wiki, I think that is just repeating Red Hat's intended release schedule (which RH slipped considerably with 5.0 to 6.0).

manmath sahu said...

Yes, I agree 100% with you. The irregularities in CentOS regarding releasing patches, updates and major releases are so pathetic that it no more qualifies to bear the "Enterprise" tag. FYI, many have already started moving to SL6, wherever it's possible. In fact, I have moved to SL6. So far it's good.

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