The Red Hat/CentOS dispute has taken a new turn after a senior executive claimed that the former pulled the funding for the CentOS project, leaving them no option but to shutter it.
Red Hat’s decision to end CentOS has been universally panned across the project’s ecosystem by users and contributors alike, and has resulted in at least two high-profile forks.
The development of CentOS is sponsored by Red Hat, both in terms of financial support and developer contributions.
Backing CentOS Stream
In an interview with The Register, Brian Exelbierd, Red Hat Liaison and CentOS board member, admitted that Red Hat’s support comes with a caveat that “the CentOS board doesn’t get to decide what Red Hat engineering teams do.”
While the move to axe CentOS was made by the CentOS Board, it apparently came about as a result of Red Hat’s decision to only sponsor the development of CentOS Stream.
“Red Hat said, we’re going to make some fundamental changes in how we direct our investment. Then we went to the CentOS project and said, here is a thing Red Hat is going to do. We believe there are consequences of this action… the end result was the decision that got made by the project,” said Exelbierd.
Explaining Red Hat’s love for CentOS Stream, he said, the distro aligns with the company’s requirements.
“We laid out our case and we said we’re moving our engineering contribution, people time in some cases… we want to call your attention to them because depending on what you decide to do, there are potential liability issues that could result, so we want to make sure you have a plan.”
In the days following the announcement, Red Hat has opened up its developer license to allow the use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for free for small scale production use. The company has said this is one of the first of its moves to strengthen its beleaguered user base.
Exelbierd goes on to make a strong case for CentOS Stream being an apt replacement for CentOS. However, the real issue is the immediateness of the decision including terminating the support cycle of CentOS 8 midstream.
While the decision to back CentOS Stream might sound logical from an engineering perspective, Red Hat has probably failed to take the loss of trust into account.