A Big Idea for a New Decade [was: Minutes for CentOS Board of Directors 2019-12-18 Meeting]

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On Fri, Jan 03, 2020 at 03:13:53PM -0500, Karsten Wade wrote:
> As a centralizing effort, the Board agreed to revisiting the goals
> document created five years ago, and to undergo an effort to refresh those
> goals in the light of the project’s evolution. The Board will be inviting
> various stakeholders into these discussions as we undergo a public
> revision of the goals at the start of 2020.

Wow, five years goes fast! I'd like to raise an idea for discussion and
thought, and possible further discussion between the Fedora Council and the
CentOS board. [I'm posting this in both groups.]

Around the same time the CentOS goals were being created, Fedora was working
on plans for "Fedora.next", which included among other things Fedora Server.
I won't rehash all that here, but in short: while that succeeded at some of
its goals, it never really had the user adoption we'd hoped for. Of course,
some of that is simply a matter of lifecycle: while a fast-moving server OS
is useful in some very real cases, it's decidedly niche.

When Fedora launched that plan, CentOS wasn't really in the "family", and
after, we just kind of existed in parallel, with some very loose
collaboration in areas like EPEL.

Of course, things are different now. Therefore, I propose that in this next
decade, we make that collaboration stronger. Together, we have a very nice
answer to the fundamental problem of unified operating systems. That is,
some parts move too fast and other parts move too slowly. Between Fedora and
CentOS, we have answers to both! And, with the in-progress dist-git merge,
we even have both _in the same place_.

Specifically, I'd like to suggest three things.

First, let's replace Fedora Server as a user-focused artifact with CentOS
Stream. There's still a need for a Fedora Server as an upstream, but most
users of Fedora as a server are making custom builds (or using the basic
Cloud image), not using Fedora Server per se. So, I think we should stop
marketing that to users, and steer people with server use cases outside of
the fast-moving niche to CentOS Stream. The current story of CentOS and
Fedora is pretty confusing to users, and Stream only makes it more so. Let's
simplify things!

Second, where there's overlap, let's look at merging Fedora and CentOS SIGs
into joint bodies. We have groups like the cloud image SIGs which are
basically doing the exact same thing in two different ways. Same thing with
containers. We also have huge overlaps in documentation and community user
support and all sorts of non-technical project areas. I'm not saying these
all need to be smooshed together, but where it makes sense let's work
together. This, too, brings simplification to the "what's with CentOS vs.
Fedora" story: rather than making contributors pick, we can welcome all with
open arms.

And finally, let's really take advantage of a merged dist-git repository,
and the capabilities that Modularity gives us. SIGs building things for
CentOS should be able to directly reference Fedora branches where
faster-moving software is useful — and people building things in Fedora
should be able to pull in branches from Stream where a slower-moving version
would make sense. And we could even make additional shared branches where
necessary, using modularity to make optional streams which could be used in
CentOS SIGs, EPEL, or a Fedora OS.

What do you think?

Matthew Miller
Fedora Project Leader
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