[Ambassadors] Red Hat's investments (was Re: Going passive)

Jeff Spaleta jspaleta at gmail.com
Wed Nov 10 21:39:58 UTC 2010


2010/11/10 Jonathan Dieter <jdieter at lesbg.com>:
> On Wed, 2010-11-10 at 17:10 +0100, Christoph Wickert wrote:
>>     14. Other package owners got a formal letter from Red Hat that they
>>         had to hand some of their packages over to Red Hat employees as
>>         they were to become part of RHEL6.
>
> Not sure if this is what you're referring to, but I'm the maintainer of
> deltarpm in Fedora and EPEL 4 & 5 and received an email basically saying
> that deltarpm would be part of RHEL 6, so wouldn't be in EPEL 6.
>
> Seeing as EPEL is *Extra* Packages for Enterprise Linux, that doesn't
> bother me at all.  Nobody's asked me to hand over deltarpm in Fedora,
> which would be a completely different story.


EPEL is a bit of a weird fish because as a concept it straddles the
line between corporate controlled and community controlled in a way
that Fedora as a project was specifically setup to _not_ do.

I can totally understand the strong reaction that Christoph is
expressing with regard to the experience of EPEL packages being
subsumed into RHEL6 if he and others have come to believe that EPEL is
the same sort of community space that Fedora is and had developed a
set of expectations that are incongruent with EPEL's purpose.

And I can totally understand how some Fedora contributors could have
grown the wrong expectations. RHEL releases are essentially full solar
eclipses in terms of rarity and are effectively disconnected from the
day in and day out maintainership workflows  that Fedora package
maintainers use.  I can see how those sort of emails would be
considered disruptive to those workflows.  And for people who have
made a real personal investment in the packaging work they are doing
in EPEL I can certainly understand how they might not want to
willingly let go of the work and could feel as it it was being rudely
taken from them by being added to RHEL.

I can empathize with that reaction and those feelings.

But I can not sympathize or support those feeling,

Because this situation was expected and absolutely anticipated with
EPEL was created.  Because we _know_ RHEL is going to expand its
technology coverage as RHEL _customers_ find they need to rely on
technologies sitting in EPEL more and more. The existence of EPEL as a
resource only makes this situation more likely.  This is one of the
essential reasons why EPEL is not branded as Fedora in its naming.

-jef



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