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I feel I should write something about the recent CentOS news but I think IT Wire already said a lot.
I’ll write a tiny bit anyway as I want to let my brain cells mostly abstain from this just as Bill Watterson stopped producing Calvin & Hobbes and retreated into the woods or whatever, I also wish to do the same.
When I was working at Red Hat on Cobbler, what, over 15 years ago — for most of the journey, I had people in my department but I was mostly on my own with regard to my projects. I didn’t have a real manager for years. IRC and email CentOS contacts (mostly sysadmins) became my colleagues and work friends, they gave me ideas, they sent cool patches, I learned from them and wrote Python code to automate their ideas. They were why I came into work and why I became who I did. And that value produced, with their help, helped lots of RHEL users from banks to renderfarms. It worked because we didn’t care about company boundaries and who was paying and who wasn’t. I think at least one of those RHEL deployments paid for my entire career there, I’m guessing.
Everything I learned from open source - and eventually built - came from working with CentOS folks. Ansible would not exist without that. Then, during the era of Ansible, they continued to provide awesome value - not just modules and patches and testing, but as a sounding board to make sure I built the right things. They helped other people find my work. Our work. Even in places like Europe where people did their own support/consulting and didn’t pay for literally anything (so it seemed), tons of patches and user involvement from that audience accelerated the project really quickly.
To me, the value of Ansible to modern day Red Hat — that came in turn from that experience from primarily “non-paying” CentOS users — is likely, what, billions? I’m not just talking about Ansible sales but also they are using it in training and to automate lots of cloud internals. That might be the case! I don’t know but I wish I got commission! While I would have liked to been asked to helm the ship after certain people left, I was not.
CentOS, Rocky, and other users - I just want to say I appreciate you all. You are not freeloaders. You do have budgets, of course! But you create tremendous value up and down the stack.
Maybe this was really about Amazon Linux and they just didn’t want to say it, but I think Amazon can adapt to anything, because they are too freaking huge and need to be broken up already.
Noticing the end of the RPM era long ago, I would have opened things completely up and enjoyed the surprises and awesomeness that could have came from that. Sell things up the stack while enabling everything down below to be as awesome as it can be. Power users are still going to want support and services too, that is probably not going anywhere!