Just announced in the last few hours, CentOS 7 for x86-64 has arrived. This is the first release under the new arrangements since Red Hat reversed into CentOS, leaving the distro independent but hiring a number of key players. Apart from this being a rapid arrival for a major new release, the announcement notes that they aim to get future updates heading out within 24-48 hours of release. There’s a new versioning system too, so this is Cento 7.0-1406,14/06 being June 2014, when Red Hat released RHEL 7.0 and the code base that this release of CentOS was built on. There’s torrents available for the DVD ISO, “Everything”, GNOME Live (the announcement has a malformed link for that – it’s http://mirror.centos.org/centos/7/isos/x86_64/CentOS-7.0-1406-x86_64-GnomeLive.torrent), KDE Live, a Live CD and a NetInstall. And to the torrents we fly to check out how it looks… well it should look like RHEL 7.
Red Hat and the CentOS project join forces, says the Red Hat official news release, “to accelerate community adoption and innovation for next-generation open source projects”. CentOS’s own announcement focuses on the new governance and long-term sustainability for the project with Red Hat sponsoring build processes and employing a number of core CentOS team members. The Red Hat plan for CentOS seems to be about having CentOS as the baseline platform for working with other communities on stuff like OpenStack, Gluster and OpenShift Origin. While CentOS, the project, remains independent with a firewall between it and Red Hat, like Fedora before it, it is being tied inexorably into the Red Hat ecosystem.
It seems that Red Hat has finally figured out that Fedora, despite its close ties and pioneering of Linux technologies, wasn’t creating a community around Red Hat Enterprise Linux. To use the tired car analogy, Fedora’s racing dune buggies, although testing out new technology for future models and great fun to drive, weren’t really bringing buyers to Red Hat’s range of business cars and vans.
The pace of new technology adoption outside the core of the operating system also meant that for Red Hat, developing say cloud software to work on Fedora would still mean an effort to backport it to RHEL or wait through the multi-year cycle for a major RHEL release. Now, with CentOS on board, that integration can be carried out on current RHEL-compatible CentOS releases vastly reducing the work needed to bring innovations into production on RHEL. And, if you recall, Red Hat has already shifted to a model of “Collections” allowing newer software to be shipped alongside their battle hardened enterprise Linux releases.
To play in open source, you need to be engaged with the community at all levels and Red Hat’s handling of RHEL has meant the community building work has gone to the groups who have taken the RHEL source and rebranded it, most prominently, CentOS. But Red Hat never officially condoned CentOS and a two arms length approach left the community distribution out in the cold. That cold zone also includes Oracle, who also take Red Hat’s source and create a RHEL compatible distribution of their own. And it is there, I suspect, that the real problem lay; for Red Hat to go on the offensive against Oracle would involve collateral damage to CentOS. With CentOS defensively under its wing, Red Hat may be able to bring more of a fight to Oracle’s ‘Unbreakable Linux”.
It’s going to be an interesting time for enterprise Linux with this move in place. It’s probably the smartest thing Red Hat could have done – inverse-acquihire the leaders of the RHEL cloning community. (Aquihiring is where you buy the company for the people, so I’m coining inverse-aquihiring for where you hire the people for the community). The competition will no longer be able to say “But there’s no ‘blessed’ free version of RHEL… our stuff is always free” while drafting up a services invoice. I expect the Fedora project to also get a freer hand in making more radical changes in future versions once CentOS starts taking on production-level integration.
But Red Hat and the CentOS team are going to have to remain smart – like all mergers, making the deal is just the start of “the time when things could go wrong”.
Linux Mint 16 Refreshes: Linux Mint 16 has landed in both Cinnamon and MATE flavours. Codenamed “Petra”, Mint 16’s lead Cinnamon variant comes with the new Cinnamon 2.0 (now with sound effects, improved user management and edge tiling, edge snapping and other enhancements), enhanced login screen, USB stick formatter, refined software manager and more, all built upon an Ubuntu 13.10 foundation. The MATE variant has all the non-Cinnamon related improvements, whilst sticking with the GNOME 2 desktop fork.
Oracle Linux 6.5: Red Hat released RHEL 6.5 a week ago and Oracle made the announcement of Oracle Linux 6.5, its Linux-based-on-RHEL offering, on Novemember 27 though it took a little longer for DVD ISOs to become available for download.
CentOS 6.5: CentOS, the community based RHEL clone, also has been building CentOS 6.5 since the Red Hat announcement, and was being rsynced to mirrors as of yesterday so expect the official release announcement soon – for example, the UK Mirror Service is already updated with the 6.5 release if you really really can’t wait. Update: CentOS 6.5 is now officially available from all mirrors to download along with release notes.
Tiny Core 5.1: At the other end of the scale, Tiny Core, the x86 Linux which takes only 10MB of space and miniscule amounts of RAM, has been updated to version 5.1. The update moves the kernel to 3.8.13, to fix a specific bug, from September’s 5.0 release which came with a 3.8.10 kernel glibc 2.16, gcc 4.7.2 and other more up to date libraries and apps.
- Fedora 20 enters Beta: Fedora 20 has entered beta so its time to step up that testing as there’s lots of goodies in “Heisenbug”. Top items include ARM as a primary architecture, the end of sendmail and syslog as defaults, fresh tools and more. Thats all in the announcement along with pointers on where to go for your downloads and further information on the GNOME 3.10 powered Fedora 20 beta.
- Scientific Linux 5.10: Tracking the updates of Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux, as it is built from the sources of that distribution, the Scientific Linux developers have released SL 5.10. This follows Red Hat’s release at the start of October of RHEL 5.10. Similar provisos apply to the update regarding MySQL 5.0/5.1, namely that you’ll need to update to MySQL 5.5 which is also included as the support clock has run out on the older versions. For a more up to date release, remember SL are also following Red Hat’s RHEL 6 with their SL 6.4 released earlier this year.
- Tizen Nearing?: It seems that Samsung have already released a Tizen powered device to consumers, the NX300M camera, which runs “Tizen Camera Platform”. Sammyhub had the details. Samsung are pitching Q1 2014 for Tizen 2.2.1-based smart phones and a multi-user, 64-bit, 3D UI Tizen 3.0 for Q3. But will the Linux based Tizen past muster outside the gates of Samsung Towers – 2014 looks like the year we find out.