When thinking about the CentOS Project, it’s natural to think of the Linux distro and how it makes operations and administration easy through sane package integration and management. If you are an open source software project, though, how is the CentOS Linux platform useful to you beyond the operating system?
This is where SIGs come in.
Special Interest Groups (SIG) are smaller groups within the CentOS community that focus on a small set of issues, in order to either create awareness or to focus on development along a specific topic.
For example, the Cloud SIG produces packages for cloud infrastructure projects such as OpenStack and Cloudstack. And the Storage SIG produces packages for software defined storage projects, such as Gluster and Ceph.
Other SIGs, such as the Promotion SIG and the Artwork SIG, focus on non-technical aspects of the CentOS distribution, and are other ways to get involved in the life of the community. These SIGs are a topic for another day.
There are a number of reasons that your open source project might want to engage with a CentOS SIG.
CI and Packaging
The most important service that the CentOS Project provides to your project is the CI and packaging tools. These are described in the SIG Guide, along with other tools and resources that are available to SIGs.
By using the CentOS CBS (Community Build System) you can ensure that your project not only works flawlessly on CentOS, but also doesn’t have any conflicts with other projects that are providing packages for CentOS.
With help from the larger CentOS community, and other projects within your SIG, this relieves you of the need to be a CentOS expert yourself.
Easier to install on CentOS and RHEL
The primary output of a SIG is a repository of packages. This makes it easier for users of CentOS to install and use your project, with a simple ‘yum install’, and ensure that they’ll get all of the necessary dependencies with no additional effort on their part.
Community of like-minded developers
Other projects in your same subject area are often faced with similar problems. The SIG is a great place to solve those problems together, whether they are CentOS specific, or more generally applicable to your problem space.
Promotion of your project to CentOS users
Each time you push a release, this can be promoted to the CentOS community through our various social media channels, mailing lists, forums and newsletter. This expands the reach of your project to an audience who isn’t on your project promotional channels. This can be a real boon to smaller projects, as well as to projects that are very developer focused and don’t have much user/operator outreach.
A place for your users to address platform-specific issues
Problems that people have with your project are often actually problems with the platform on which they’re running them. Perhaps they don’t understand how services work on CentOS, or aren’t familiar with the configuration nuances that are specific to CentOS. Having a place where users can ask these questions, and get authoritative answers, can take a lot of the support burden off of your regular community, who, while deeply familiar with your project, maybe aren’t so familiar with the idiosyncrasies of CentOS.