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.

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