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January 08, 2014

Red Hat to Help Drive New CentOS

CentOS, a Linux distribution that offers more than core OS services, is getting a major revamp thanks to the CentOS Project and Red Hat (News - Alert).

The Red Hat role is little surprise, as CentOS is based on Red Hat Linux. But CentOS didn’t always use Red Hat as its base, and in fact has had a couple different iterations.

The big news is really that Red Hat is now sponsoring the ten year-old CentOS group and helping drive and support the technology. That will result in a major revamp of the technology.

Why is this important? The Red Hat sponsorship brings stability and momentum to this enterprise-class Linux distributor.

CentOS leaders are pleased that Red Hat is stepping in. “CentOS owes its success not just to the source code it's built from, but to the hard work and enthusiasm of its user community. Now that we are able to count Red Hat among the active contributors to the CentOS Project, we have access to the resources and expertise we'll need to expand the scope and reach of the CentOS community while remaining committed to our current and new users,” said Karanbir Singh, lead developer, CentOS Project.

Because CentOS is binary compatible with Red Hat, growth of CentOS can help Red Hat sell subscriptions to its other tools such as Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, Red Hat JBoss Middleware, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, OpenShift by Red Hat, and Red Hat Storage, the company said.

That seems more than entirely possible, analysts believe. “CentOS is one of the major non-commercial distributions in the industry, and a key adjacent project for many Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers. This relationship helps strengthen the CentOS community, and will ensure that CentOS benefits directly from the community-centric development approach that Red Hat both understands and heavily supports,” said Al Gillen, program vice president, System Software, IDC (News - Alert). “Given the growing opportunities for Linux in the market today in areas such as OpenStack, cloud and big data, a stronger CentOS technology backed by the CentOS community—including Red Hat—is a positive development that helps the overall industry.”

Now that Red Hat is at least partially in the driver’s seat (there is still a large community of developers crafting the technology), the company will release a road map, something expected in several weeks.

During the upcoming SDN Precon on Jan. 28 in Miami, Fla., attendees will hear feature presentations and gain educational opportunities on everything SDN.

Part of that road map should include the embrace of other open source technologies such as OpenStack, and foster the creation of multiple versions of CentOS.

“Red Hat will contribute its resources and expertise in building thriving open source communities to the new CentOS Project to help establish more open project governance and a roadmap, broaden opportunities for participation, open pathways for contribution, and provide new ways for CentOS users and contributors to bring the power of open source innovation to all areas of the software stack,” Red Hat said. “With Red Hat's contributions and investment, the CentOS Project will be able to expand and accelerate, serving the needs of community members who require different or faster-moving components layered on top of CentOS, expanding on existing efforts to collaborate with open source projects such as OpenStack, RDO, Gluster, OpenShift Origin, and oVirt.”

Surprise, Surprise

In addition to CentOS, Red Hat already also essentially sponsors Fedora. While the move is no surprise to this long-time Linux watcher, one analyst was caught off guard. “Though it will doubtless come as a surprise, this move by Red Hat represents the logical embrace of an adjacent ecosystem. Bringing the CentOS and Red Hat communities closer together should be a win for both parties,” Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst, RedMonk.




Edited by Ryan Sartor
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