My thoughts on the Red Hat / CentOS partnership

It’s been six months since Red Hat announced they were joining forces with CentOS. I think things have settled down enough for me to make a post without controversy. I’ll use my usual question and answer format to answer the most common questions I’ve gotten.

Q: Did you know about the plans for the merger?
Yes. I was in the loop as a “consultant” for about 8 months.

Q: Why CentOS and not Scientific Linux?
There were pro’s and con’s for each distribution. I personally thought that Scientific Linux’s workflow and desire for others to create “spins” would have fit better with Red Hat’s goals. But the complications associated with working with goverment funded labs far outweighed the work that would have been saved by using Scientific Linux.

Q: What is Red Hat’s real agenda? Are they trying to get rid of RHEL clones?
If you read Red Hat’s press releases about why they wanted to do this, then you know what their real agenda is.
They are not trying to get rid of the RHEL clones.
Red Hat needed a way to be able to let people try their products that layer on top of RHEL. But how can you let people try them without giving away RHEL for free.
My best example is from OpenShift, the product I work on. We had OpenShift Origin that worked on Fedora, and we had OpenShift Enterprise, that works on RHEL6. But we had no official way for users who didn’t already have RHEL subscriptions to try OpenShift on an enterprise OS. After the team up with CentOS we are able to have users try OpenShift Origin on CentOS.

Q: Do I think the whole joining of forces thing will work?
Yes. I think there is still going to be some rough patches. But I think as the months turn into years, those rough patches will be worn smooth.

Q: How does this affect Scientific Linux?
I am unable to comment on this question at the present time. Not because anyone is silencing me. But because currently I don’t know. There are multiple paths that Scientific Linux can take, and they are proceeding with caution and due diligence.

Two Years at Red Hat

Do you still enjoy working at Red Hat?
Has the enviroment changed after the novelty wore off?

Yes, I still love working at Red Hat.
I no longer wake up, surprised to find myself working at Red Hat, so in that sense, the novelty has worn off.
But, even after two years, the Red Hat culture still feels like a custom fit to me.

Do you still like working on OpenShift?

The team has grown quite a bit, but it is still an awesom team to work with. There is the occasional disagreement over an issue here or there. But everyone looks at the real goal, and works out the best way to do it.
Besides the great people to work with, I really like that OpenShift has transformed into a three pronged project. OpenShift Origin has all the source code out there if you want to set up your own OpenShift infratructure on your own. OpenShift Enterprise let’s you setup up your own OpenShift instrastructure with our help and support. And then OpenShift Online, for those who just want to use it, ready made.

Any interesting stories to tell?

It’s always interesting having people from Sales contact me, asking for the inside scoop on RHEL clones. Even though I work for Red Hat, I still feel the same about RHEL clones. I feel RHEL should be used in your production enviroments and/or when you need support. But you should use Scientific Linux in your testing and/or development enviroments. They never like to hear that, and they rarely contact me again. My Red Hat is off to the one sales guy who not only contacted me again, but allowed me to speak to their customer.

Six months at Red Hat

I’ve been working at Red Hat for six months.  I want to answer the two questions I’m asked the most.  Is working for Red Hat what you expected it to be?  Do you regret leaving Fermilab and Scientific Linux to work on OpenShift for Red Hat?

Is working for Red Hat what I expected it to be?

Yes, and more so.

Their dedication to Linux and open source was one of the main reason’s I wanted to work for Red Hat, so I was glad to find out how pervasive it is through the whole company..  They try to have the whole company open to all the employee’s as much as possible.   They try to support not only open source, but openness in all things, such as open hardware and open government.

Do I regret leaving Fermilab and Scientific Linux to work on OpenShift for Red Hat?

Although I loved working at Fermilab, and I loved making and maintaining Scientific Linux, t I also love working on OpenShift.  It is fast paced, great co-workers, I’m learning a lot, and I am working on a project that I think will help alot of people.

One thing I’ve been learning, is how to work with a large team of people.  I’ve had to learn that I don’t have to do everything myself.  It is a little scary letting others do what you could do, but it’s also very refreshing once you get used to it.

My thoughts on leaving Scientific Linux

At the beginning of September I left Fermilab, and Scientific Linux, to work for Red Hat.  Although I knew it would create a bit of a stir, I didn’t expect it to hit the news as big as it did.  As I read through all the comments and articles, there was alot of totally false ideas.  I could either comment on all of them, or comment on none of them.  I chose to comment on none of them.

But there are a few things I just have to comment on.

Did Red Hat recruit me to stop Scientific Linux? No.  I had been feeling restless since the beginning of 2010, and actively looking for a different job for over a year.  I had job applications with Red Hat through most of that.  Through all of my interview, hiring, and orientation meetings, nobody told or asked me I had to leave the Scientific Linux community.  That has been a personal choice.  I needed a clean break.

There is another SL developer that knows everything I know.  True – Connie Sieh.  I was A lead developer of Scientific Linux, I was not THE lead developer of Scientific Linux.  Connie Sieh and I worked on Scientific Linux from the beginning.  Both of us could do any part of Scientific Linux development at any time.  I usually did the much more visible parts, and did alot more of the community relations.  Connie usually did more of the behind the scenes work.  But Connie knew everything I knew.  She could do anything I could do.  People shouldn’t underestimate her.