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CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Dag Wieërs reports that CentOS 5.6 is on its way to a mirror near you. "Next up is CentOS 6.0, hopefully this one is released before RHEL 6.1, since the RHEL 6.1 Beta is already two weeks out. The fact that CentOS 6.0 is already 145 days behind RHEL 6.0 is something the team will have to think about. Leveraging the community by opening up the QA process is a no-brainer to me."

Update: Karanbir Singh has more information on his blog.

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CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 5, 2011 22:03 UTC (Tue) by Rubberman (guest, #70320) [Link]

Well, CentOS has already lost me. I needed RHEL6 compatibility, but they (CentOS) were nowhere to be found, so I went with Scientific Linux 6. Added benefit - my wife is a physicist at Fermi Lab, so I have direct access to the SL development team...

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 5, 2011 23:24 UTC (Tue) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

I've seen some emails on the centos-devel mailing list that say that some of the CentOS developers have done some validation on some of Scientific Linux's packages and found inconsistencies compared to RHEL. Here is an example:

Please note that I believe that was in reference to one of the SL 5.6 alpha releases... and not necessarily of their final release that may have fixed the mentioned issue... I'm not sure.

From that it would appear that CentOS cares more about being 100% compatible with RHEL... whereas SL has that goal along with a few others. I can not say how the two compare with regards to upstream compatibility. It would be nice to find a technical article that compares all of the packages provided by both and gives them a grade.

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 5, 2011 23:44 UTC (Tue) by dag- (subscriber, #30207) [Link]

A 100% binary compatibility wish does not excuse the core team from:

- communicating with their community effectively
- not provide false information regarding release dates
- leverage the dozens of people that offered to help
- opening up the QA process
- make it possible to fix/build/test new releases in parallel

From the discussions on that same list it seems as if the CentOS team is not interested in improving the process, releasing faster, getting more people involved or creating a transparent process. It feels like they are more concerned about helping potential competitors in this area.

CentOS 5.6 was 84 days late, CentOS 6.0 will be +170 days late if they can release in 3 weeks.

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 6, 2011 0:03 UTC (Wed) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

CentOS 5.6 was 84 days late, CentOS 6.0 will be +170 days late if they can release in 3 weeks.
I wouldn't use the word late really... but delay when compared to upstream. As you are probably aware, there is a nice running comparison of release dates on wikipedia:

84 days surely isn't one of their speediest and 6.0 is really behind. I am glad that they aren't doing releases before they are ready.

I agree with your assessment and am in the process of trying to setup a Koji build system. I think if the CentOS-devs distributed the builds across several users and systems, it would help... but they certainly know their build system better than I do. At the very least I hope to learn something. Maybe there were more packages having build problems than in the past.

It would be great to get a post-release assessment done by the CentOS developers and see if they really are interested in making what many see as needed changes.

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 6, 2011 2:44 UTC (Wed) by butlerm (guest, #13312) [Link]

The Centos 6.0 delay is liveable. The real problem is no security updates for Centos 5.5 in the interim. I don't understand the reason for that. Do the SRPMS of the patched packages for 5.6 no longer build on 5.5 anymore?

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 6, 2011 8:02 UTC (Wed) by nteon (subscriber, #53899) [Link]

my guess would be that the order in which you build the srpms in mock for 5.6 is important and non-trivial (but I'm just grandstanding here)

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 7, 2011 23:17 UTC (Thu) by dag- (subscriber, #30207) [Link]

Not just the order. To achieve the best binary compatibility (even CentOS cannot claim to be 100% binary compatible) you have to build each individual SRPM against the same build environment (set of packages) as Red Hat. If you know that these packages were build during a window of one year, you can understand that a lot of the packages have been build against compiler version and libraries that are not officially available.

Now, luckily, in most cases a simple rebuild against the release works fine, but there are hundreds of problems. However, CentOS does not publish the list of known problems, doesn't publish a list of fixes (or the build environment they created for each problematic package). They are not obliged to. What's worse, even the QA process is a closed process.

This results in a very closed development process that is tied to only a handful (likely just 3) people. None of the experience is shared with others. Nobody is able to reproduce the builds with certainty. Everyone interested in helping with the process is left out in the dark. Which is a genuine liability to the project, makes it impossible to make releases timely, puts the work (and control) in the hands of a few.

Calling it a community project (the C in CentOS) is misleading at best. Sharing information has been the cornerstone of Open Source, allowing people to build on what others have produced, and even the ability to fork, is what keeps a community project vivid, honest and competing.

Recent discussions on the mailinglist have shown there does not seem to be a lot of interest from the CentOS project to turn this around for the better.

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 6, 2011 18:56 UTC (Wed) by rodgerd (guest, #58896) [Link]

Perhaps the CentOS developers should spend less time flinging poo at other RHEL clones and more time tending to their own garden.

CentOS 5.6 release imminent

Posted Apr 6, 2011 19:10 UTC (Wed) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

I'd agree with you BUT, and I assume you can read... they were having a problem building a few packages and wanted to see what SL had done differently if anything... to make it work. Turns out that they hadn't. No poo flinging involved.

CentOS 5.6 is out now

Posted Apr 6, 2011 22:17 UTC (Wed) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

I've been watching the mirrors as they propagate 5.6... and they finally flipped the bit on the 5.6 directory a little while ago... although the announcement hasn't been made yet. Everything seems to be there, including updates... although they may have a few left to push out.

What seems to still need to sync are the SRPMS which they said they would do in a second wave.

On a test upgrade, there seems to be a problem currently with Firefox as the xulrunner package provided is too new for it. My guess is they still have a firefox update left to push out.

In any event, it all looks good. Good job.

I need to try out the LiveCD. Does it include an installer now? I hope so.

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