Today, CentOS turns 15 years old. It’s had hard times and good times, and gone through a number of big changes over those years. We feel that we’ve landed in a really great place, over the last 5 years, as part of the Red Hat family of projects, and we’re very excited about what’s coming with CentOS 8, and the years to come.

Right now, we want to look back at how we got where we are now. We did that by going back and talking with some of the people that were involved in those early years, as well as some that joined the project later on.

We started by talking with Greg Kurtzer, who was the original founder of the project. In this interview, he told us about the motivations for starting the project, as well as some of the community challenges that were faced in those first years.

Along the way, Greg had an opportunity to very intentionally set the tone of the community to be welcoming and tolerant. This was primarily because Greg had has some very negative experiences with some of the very hostile communities in those early years. We talked a little bit about those intentional changes in the second half of our interview.

Our next interview was with Manuel “Wolfy” Wolfshant, who was also involved almost from the beginning. He began as a user, and quickly moved to building packages, which he needed for work, but decided to share with the world. He also was then, and is now, very involved in user support in the forums.

That interview can be read on the CentOS blog at https://blog.centos.org/2019/04/centos15-wolfy/

While at FOSDEM, in Brussels, in February, I talked with two members of the community. Mike McLean, a contributor to the project, and the author of the Koji tool that is used extensively in CentOS and Fedora, talked about his contributions:

And Brian Stinson, a more recent addition to the community, talked about his work in the CI and infrastructure of the project:

Our community is very dependent on people that actually use CentOS in production, because they are the people who find the problems, and who have insight into changes that should be made. They also are our most valuable contributors to user support, because they’ve been there, and know how to fix things when they break. Jeff Sheltren is one of those people, and has been using CentOS since the very beginning. Over time, he’s become part of the centos-qa group that helps test and package new versions of the distribution.

And finally, we have an interview with Karsten Wade, who was very instrumental in bringing CentOS into the Red Hat family, and continues to act as the liaison between the CentOS board, and Red Hat, although his position has changed over the years as I (Rich Bowen) have moved full time into that community manager role.

In the coming months, we’ll continue to do these interviews. If you’re part of the CentOS community, we’d like to hear from you - how you got involved, and how your role has changed as you’ve gotten more involved over the years. Get in touch with Rich - rbowen@centosproject.org - and we’ll talk.

Happy Birthday, CentOS. And here’s hoping that the next 15 years are even better. Come see us at Red Hat Summit next month to hear about what’s coming in CentOS 8, and what’s next for our community!

Dear CentOS enthusiast,

Another month into 2019, and we have a lot to tell you about.

#CentOS15

CentOS turns 15 this month!

We've been talking with some of the people who have been around since the beginning, and a few that joined us a little later on. And we'll be doing more of these interviews in the coming weeks and months. Here's a few of the interviews about how things have changed over the years.

Greg Kurtzer, who originally founded the project, talks about those early days.

Mike McLean talks a little about the transition over the years after that, and about CentOS joining the Red Hat family.

Brian Stinson talks about his responsibilities in the CentOS infrastructure and CI.

Manuel "Wolfy" Wolfshant talks about the path for someone to get involved in the project by jumping in and doing things that you see need doing.

If you would like to talk about your involvement in CentOS, please get in touch with Rich at rbowen@centosproject.org  You don't need to be one of the founders - just to have something interesting to say about your involvement, past, present, and future.

Changes coming to git.centos.org

If you contribute to the CentOS project, you need to be aware of changes that are coming to git.centos.org. To summarize, we're migrating from Gitblit to Pagure, effective April 8th. For the full details, please see this thread on centos-devel, and this new page in the wiki.

Releases and updates

While not as busy as February, we had a number of significant updates released in March.

Errata and Enhancements Advisories

We issued the following CEEA (CentOS Errata and Enhancements Advisories) during March:

Errata and Security Advisories

We issued the following CESA (CentOS Errata and Security Advisories) during March:

Errata and Bugfix Advisories

We issued the following CEBA (CentOS Errata and Bugfix Advisories) during March:

SIG Updates

SIGs - Special Interest Groups - are where people work on the stuff that runs on top of CentOS. We have recently started having SIGs report quarterly, so we have just a few of them each month, getting through the entire list every 3 months.

Software Collections SIG

The Software Collections SIG reports a slow quarter, which is expected. Red Hat collections, from which this SIG builds, are released twice a year. This naturally leads to every other quarter being fairly silent.

Platform as a Service SIG

The PaaS SIG also reports a slow quarter. The main citizen of this SIG, OpenShift, is moving many of their components to containers, leaving less for the SIG to do.

However, there are some potential projects coming up. And, as always, there's lots of room for new contributors to come in and work on areas that interest them. Please do show up on the mailing list, or the IRC channel, to discuss what you'd like to work on.

Events

In two weeks, we'll be running a CentOS Dojo at Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL), where we'll be featuring talks focused on the kind of scientific research computing that goes on there. You can see the schedule of speakers and sessions on the event website.

However, we have sold out all of the space at this event, and so registration is now closed.

At the end of the month, CentOS will be at the Open Infrastructure Summit (formerly known as OpenStack Summit), in Denver, in the community pod of the Red Hat booth. Come see us!

And we're ramping up towards Red Hat Summit, where we will be in the Community Central portion of the expo hall! This is one of our biggest events of the year, and we'd love to see you there, in Boston!

And, coming up, we're planning to run a CentOS Dojo in Boston, on the day before DevConf.US. The call for presentations is open, and we want to hear from you! Talks about anything you're doing in, on, or around CentOS is fair game. Submit your talks HERE.

Contributing to CentOS Pulse

We are always on the look-out for people who are interested in helping to:

  • report on CentOS community activity
  • provide a report from the SIG on which you participate
  • maintain a (sub-)section of the newsletter
  • write an article on an interesting person or topic
  • provide the hint, tip or trick of the month

Please see the page with further information about contributing. You can also contact the Promotion SIG, or just email Rich directly (rbowen@centosproject.org) with ideas or articles that you'd like to see in the next newsletter.

 

For our next #CentOS15 profile, I spoke with Manuel "Wolfy" Wolfshant, who has been an active member of our community since the very beginning, shortly after we started working with the WhiteBox Linux community.

(You can see some of the other #CentOS15 interviews on YouTube.)

When Red Hat moved the business model from selling CDs to selling support, his company had a need to provide a Linux desktop operating system, and packages for it.

Wolfy says that his eye was caught by a news article about Johnny Hughes and the Mayor of Tuttle, Oklahoma, Jerry Taylor.

If you weren't around back then, I'll recap. Due to a failed server upgrade, the Mayor of Tuttle woke to find the generic Apache httpd welcome page, and the CentOS logo, on his city's website. He promptly emailed the CentOS project, threatening to turn them over to the FBI if they didn't undo their malicious hack of the site.

Johnny, being Johnny, responded calmly and respectfully, encouraging the Mayor to contact his IT department, and pointing him to resources to help get his site running again. Given this response, Mr. Taylor
got even angrier, and the conversation went downhill from there. But Johnny remained calm, polite, and professional, and helped guide the city IT department to a solution.

You can read more in the article from the Register at the time.

Impressed with Johnny's calm and helpful response, Wolfy went with CentOS, and has been a happy user for many years since that time.

His involvement in the project began with packaging drivers that were needed for machines in the office. It swiftly moved to other areas, including user support, translation, and starting the very active Romanian Linux user group, RLUG, which remains active today.

Over the years, he has worked on the release notes (for a time providing them in Romanian), packaging for Fedora, and the creation and maintenance of the minimal install kickstart during the CentOS 6 days.

He remains active in the IRC channel, on the mailing lists, and in the CentOS Forum, helping new users (and some experienced ones!) navigate their problems with the CentOS operating system. You can find him #centos-devel channel on Freenode IRC under the name 'wolfy', and on the centos-devel mailing list, answering user questions.

It's not a secret that the CentOS project has always been running on sponsored infra since the beginning of the journey. While over the years we sometimes lost some "sponsors", we are always happy to see new ones joigning us . That's especially true for the infra used to "seed" the CentOS distro and SIGs content to external mirrors, and even more in regions that are less covered.

While we have some nodes in North America and Europe, some other regions are less covered (if not at all). That's why we'd like to say thank you to Packet to have recently sponsored some bare-metal nodes that are now members of our msync network, including (but not limited) to regions like Asia (with one node in Japan !), Europe and America. Welcome !

The CentOS Atomic SIG has released an updated version of CentOS Atomic Host (7.1902), an operating system designed to run Linux containers, built from standard CentOS 7 RPMs, and tracking the component versions included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host.

CentOS Atomic Host includes these core component versions:

  • atomic-1.22.1-26.gitb507039.el7.centos.x86_64
  • rpm-ostree-client-2018.5-2.atomic.el7.x86_64
  • ostree-2018.5-1.el7.x86_64
  • cloud-init-18.2-1.el7.centos.1.x86_64
  • docker-1.13.1-91.git07f3374.el7.centos.x86_64
  • kernel-3.10.0-957.5.1.el7.x86_64
  • podman-0.12.1.2-2.git9551f6b.el7.centos.x86_64
  • flannel-0.7.1-4.el7.x86_64
  • etcd-3.3.11-2.el7.centos.x86_64

Download CentOS Atomic Host

CentOS Atomic Host is available as a VirtualBox or libvirt-formatted Vagrant box, or as an installable ISO, qcow2 or Amazon Machine image. For links to media, see the CentOS wiki.

Upgrading

If you’re running a previous version of CentOS Atomic Host, you can upgrade to the current image by running the following command:

# atomic host upgrade

Release Cycle

The CentOS Atomic Host image follows the upstream Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host cadence. After sources are released, they’re rebuilt and included in new images. After the images are tested by the SIG and deemed ready, we announce them.

Getting Involved

CentOS Atomic Host is produced by the CentOS Atomic SIG, based on upstream work from Project Atomic. If you’d like to work on testing images, help with packaging, documentation – join us!

You’ll often find us in #atomic and/or #centos-devel if you have questions. You can also join the atomic-devel mailing list if you’d like to discuss the direction of Project Atomic, its components, or have other questions.

Getting Help

If you run into any problems with the images or components, feel free to ask on the centos-devel mailing list.

Have questions about using Atomic? See the atomic mailing list or find us in the #atomic channel on Freenode.

A substantial number of released/updates were announced on Tuesday, March 19th, and are listed below. For timely announcements of these updates, subscribe to the centos-announce mailing list, at https://lists.centos.org/mailman/listinfo/centos-announce .

Errata and Enhancements Advisories

We issued the following CEEA (CentOS Errata and Enhancements Advisories) during March:

Errata and Security Advisories

We issued the following CESA (CentOS Errata and Security Advisories) during March:

Errata and Bugfix Advisories

We issued the following CEBA (CentOS Errata and Bugfix Advisories) during March:

 

We are pleased to announce new official Vagrant images of CentOS Linux 6.10 and CentOS Linux 7.6.1810 for x86_64. All included packages have been updated to February 28th, 2019.

Known Issues

  1. The VirtualBox Guest Additions are not preinstalled; if you need them for shared folders, please install the vagrant-vbguest plugin and add the following line to your Vagrantfile:
    config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", type: "virtualbox"

    We recommend using NFS instead of VirtualBox shared folders if possible; you can also use the vagrant-sshfs plugin, which, unlike NFS, works on all operating systems.

  2. Since the Guest Additions are missing, our images are preconfigured to use rsync for synced folders. Windows users can either use SMB for synced folders, or disable the sync directory by adding the line
    config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", disabled: true

    to their Vagrantfile, to prevent errors on "vagrant up".

  3. Installing open-vm-tools is not enough for enabling shared folders with Vagrant’s VMware provider. Please follow the detailed instructions in https://github.com/mvermaes/centos-vmware-tools
  4. Some people reported "could not resolve host" errors when running the centos/7 image for VirtualBox on Windows hosts. We don't have access to any Windows computer, but some people reported that adding the following line to the Vagrantfile fixed the problem:
    vb.customize ["modifyvm", :id, "--natdnshostresolver1", "off"]

Recommended Setup on the Host

Our automatic testing is running on a CentOS Linux 7 host, using Vagrant 1.9.4 with vagrant-libvirt and VirtualBox 5.1.20 (without the Guest Additions) as providers. We strongly recommend using the libvirt provider when stability is required.

Downloads

The official images can be downloaded from Vagrant Cloud. We provide images for HyperV, libvirt-kvm, VirtualBox and VMware.

If you never used our images before:

vagrant box add centos/6 # for CentOS Linux 6, or...
vagrant box add centos/7 # for CentOS Linux 7

Existing users can upgrade their images:

vagrant box update --box centos/6
vagrant box update --box centos/7

Verifying the integrity of the images

The SHA256 checksums of the images are signed with the CentOS 7 Official Signing Key. First, download and verify the checksum file:

$ curl http://cloud.centos.org/centos/7/vagrant/x86_64/images/sha256sum.txt.asc -o sha256sum.txt.asc
$ gpg --verify sha256sum.txt.asc

Once you are sure that the checksums are properly signed by the CentOS Project, you have to include them in your Vagrantfile (Vagrant unfortunately ignores the checksum provided from the command line). Here's the relevant snippet from my own Vagrantfile, using v1803.01 and VirtualBox:

Vagrant.configure(2) do |config|
  config.vm.box = "centos/7"

  config.vm.provider :virtualbox do |virtualbox, override|
    virtualbox.memory = 1024
    override.vm.box_download_checksum_type = "sha256"
    override.vm.box_download_checksum = "b24c912b136d2aa9b7b94fc2689b2001c8d04280cf25983123e45b6a52693fb3"
    override.vm.box_url = "https://cloud.centos.org/centos/7/vagrant/x86_64/images/CentOS-7-x86_64-Vagrant-1803_01.VirtualBox.box"
  end
end

Feedback

If you encounter any unexpected issues with the Vagrant images, feel free to ask on the centos-devel mailing list, or in #centos on Freenode IRC.

Ackowledgements

I would like to warmly thank Brian Stinson, Fabian Arrotin and Thomas Oulevey for their work on the build infrastructure, as well as Patrick Lang from Microsoft for testing and feedback on the Hyper-V images. I would also like to thank the CentOS Project Lead, Karanbir Singh, without whose years of continuous support we wouldn't have had the Vagrant images in their present form.

I would also like to thank the following people (in alphabetical order):

  • Graham Mainwaring, for helping with tests and validations;
  • Michael Vermaes, for testing our official images, as well as for writing the detailed guide to using them with VMware Fusion Pro and VMware Workstation Pro;
  • Kirill Kalachev, for reporting and debugging the host name errors with VirtualBox on Windows hosts.

Dear CentOS enthusiast,

Another month into 2019, and we have a lot to tell you about.

CentOS is 15!

As you may have seen either at recent events, or on social media, we're getting ready to celebrate our 15th birthday! As part of that, Rich has been interviewing various people who were around in those early years, to get some of the back-story on how it all happened. You'll start seeing these interviews on the blog in the month of March.

This week, we have published an interview with Greg Kurtzer, who founded the project in the first place.

Later, we'll be publishing interviews with Karsten Wade, Manuel "wolfy" Wolfshant, and Mike McLean, with others to come.

If you would like to talk about your involvement in CentOS, please get in touch with Rich at rbowen@centosproject.org  You don't need to be one of the founders - just to have something interesting to say about your involvement, past, present, and future.

Releases and updates

February was a very busy month for errata and updates. The links below are to the release notes for each update.

Errata and Enhancements Advisories

We issued the following CEEA (CentOS Errata and Enhancements Advisories) during February:

Errata and Security Advisories

We issued the following CESA (CentOS Errata and Security Advisories) during February:

Errata and Bugfix Advisories

We issued the following CEBA (CentOS Errata and Bugfix Advisories) during February:

SIG Updates

SIGs - Special Interest Groups - are where people work on the stuff that runs on top of CentOS. We have recently started having SIGs report quarterly, so we have just a few of them each month, getting through the entire list every 3 months.

NFV SIG

There was presentation on NFV SIG at the CentOS dojo.

We hope to get fd.io vpp 19.01 release RPMs in mirrors before the end of February. Stay tuned.

More information on the NFV SIG, including how to get involved, may be found on their wiki page.

Opstools SIG

The opstools SIG has published their quarterly report to the CentOS Blog.

More information on the Opstools SIG, including how to get involved, may be found on their wiki page.

Virtualization SIG

The Virtualization SIG has published their quarterly report to the CentOS Blog.

More information about the Virtualization SIG, including how to get involved, may be found on their wiki page.

Events

FOSDEM was, of course, in February, but we reported on that in last months' newsletter.

This month, we'll be sponsoring FOSSAsia in Singapore! We'll have a CentOS table there, and we'll have participation from numerous of our favorite projects, including Ansible, ManageIQ, Fedora, and Dogtag.

We are ramping up towards the CentOS Dojo at ORNL, which is now just a month and a half away. We have published our speaker list, and the full schedule of talks should be up very soon. Register today to attend! (Registration is free, but due to the nature of the facility, you must register in advance to gain access through security.)

If you would like to host a Dojo, or have a suggestion for where we should have one, please get in touch with the CentOS Promo mailing list.

Other upcoming events are always listed on the events wiki page.

Contributing to CentOS Pulse

We are always on the look-out for people who are interested in helping to:

  • report on CentOS community activity
  • provide a report from the SIG on which you participate
  • maintain a (sub-)section of the newsletter
  • write an article on an interesting person or topic
  • provide the hint, tip or trick of the month

Please see the page with further information about contributing. You can also contact the Promotion SIG, or just email Rich directly (rbowen@centosproject.org) with ideas or articles that you'd like to see in the next newsletter.

 

As I’ve mentioned, as we approach our 15th anniversary, I’ve been talking with some of the people who were around in those early days, to get more of the backstory. (See our YouTube channel for the full interview.)

Last week, I spoke with Greg Kurtzer, who founded the Caos Linux project, which turned into the CentOS Project in 2002. I got an eye-opening story of how it all started.

In October of 2000, Greg, who was already an avid Debian GNU/Linux fan, joined an organization (LBNL) that was a Red Hat shop. (This was before Red Hat Enterprise Linux.) And, while generating packages for work, he decided that what was really needed was a community-managed distribution of RPM-based Linux, much like Debian existed for the dpkg crowd.

Now, in the early days of open source and free software, we had communities that were more defined by personalities than by technologies. Granted, that situation still exists today, but if you didn’t endure the flame wars of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, it can be a little hard to imagine just how bad it sometimes got.

With Caos Linux, Greg had an opportunity to set a new tone for the project as more welcoming, beginner friendly, and encouraging than was the norm at the time.

When Red Hat Linux became Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and the project could no longer use Red Hat Linux as the build system, they began to work with Rocky McGough who was already doing a rebuild of RHEL for his employer. (There were a number of these projects at the time.) He was changing roles professionally, and wanted the project to continue, and so agreed to merge with the work that Greg was doing. Rocky was, effectively, the first technical lead of CentOS. The name itself was coined by a participant in the UK, who will be mentioned again later.

The process was started by Greg to create a 501c3 non-profit entity - the Caos Foundation - which would host the CentOS Project. There was a framework being created to cover governance, funding, and organizing volunteer effort. Unfortunately, the individual who came up with the name ‘CentOS’ also owned the domain name, and declined to release it to the foundation as promised.

Meanwhile, when a RHEL-rebuild project called White Box Linux was discontinued, it became clear that what the community wanted was a free alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. CentOS moved into that space, based on the work that White Box had done.

As CentOS was starting to gain popularity, word came to the project that Rocky had committed suicide. In addition to being very tragic, this presented certain technical difficulties to the project, since he was the technical lead at the time. In hindsight, it is a shame he didn’t get to see what the project would become in time, as the foresight may have prevented this tragedy.

Greg passed on the technical lead position to the individual in the UK who held the domain name, while Greg continued to manage the project, community, and governance side of things. Donations to the project started to come in to support the infrastructure and other needs of the project. And third-party vendors making a business around the project also began to appear and prosper. The project was growing rapidly, and donations to the project were growing rapidly.

From there, due to a number of situations not really germane to this article, Greg moved on, and the CentOS project, through a number of events, came to where it is today. We’ll explore some of these other transitions in upcoming interviews and articles.

Of particular interest to me during my interview with Greg, were his remarks about setting the tone in a project. Being welcoming, kind, and patient takes so little time, but creates a community that people want to participate in, are proud to be part of and which is sustainable for a long time, due to the ability of new participants to enter and feel ownership. I’ve published a separate, much shorter, video with just those remarks, which I’d encourage you take two minutes to watch, too.

CentOS Opstools SIG Quarterly Report
Dec 01, 2018 - Feb 28, 2019

Purpose

Provide tools and, documentation, recommendations and best practices for operators of large infrastructure.

Membership update

We need to be honest to see that contributions decreased over the time. Members moved on, and at the same time, we failed to attract new contributors.

Health and Activity

CentOS opstools packages are being consumed by OpenStack Kolla, and at the same time, for example also by oVirt.

During FOSDEM, we got in touch with collectd upstream. collectd is also integral part of the OPNFV Barometer project. While Barometer provides containers to test the project, the same can be achieved by using packages from CentOS-Opstools.

Architectual-wise, we are shifting from using sensu and fluentd. If anyone is interested in keeping them, it's the right time to step up.

The replacements will be using rsyslog and Prometheus. Currently, we are not building Prometheus under the opstools SIG; interested
persons are encouraged to step up here!

Issues for the Board

None at this point, but we should keep an eye on contributors.