CentOS, the well-regarded RHEL clone, which recently became a Red Hat partner, is already working on CentOS 7, its RHEL 7 clone. As Karanbir Singh, a CentOS developer, tweeted when asked if CentOS 7 would be out immediately, "Not quite, but we're not far from there either. Just working on getting the ducks all lined up nicely." He continued, "It's going to take a few days to get the RPMs all done, then another few to get ISOs into installable state; we'll post updates."
Singh added, "Looks like we have RHEL-7 released. All CentOS developers ... TO THE BUILDSTATIONS!"
The process, however, for building the next version of CentOS has changed. Jim Perrin, a CentOS project developer, blogged on the official CentOS 7 site, "As part of the preparation for CentOS 7, and with a growing focus around making the source easier to work with for developers and special interest groups, the CentOS Project is publishing the git source tree used for building the distribution. This represents a bit of a change from previous releases and we understand that it will cause some users to change their workflows a bit."
To help programmers get up to speed with this new system, CentOS has put together a wiki page on how to use git with CentOS. Git is a popular version control system that comes with CentOS 6 and higher.
While Perrin isn't ready to give a release date for the new CentOS, he did say that the team is already working on the project and now it's "simply time and testing." As for working with Red Hat, in an email interview Perrin said, "Speaking for myself, joining forces with Red Hat has given me more time to devote to the project. CentOS is my job now, so I don't have to try to contribute after a day job, family time, etc. I get to work on CentOS full time, which is great. I can do more and contribute more, which to me helps things overall."
He added, "Red Hat's also provided us with some hardware. Along those lines, they've also provided us with budget to travel so that we can better put ourselves in front of our users at conferences and other events. That's helped tremendously, both because we now have the time and the ability to actually reach out to the community."
However, CentOS is not simply a division of Red Hat. "We don't really work directly with Red Hat engineering at all," said Perrin. "I'm on a different team within Red Hat, so we're pretty separated from them. From the community side, I feel that we can collaborate with them much more openly than we could in the past. We're able to reach out to the community projects Red Hat has, like oVirt, Gluster, or Ceph, and they're able to interact with us similarly."
Put it all together and I think we can be certain that we won't see the months of delays we saw with the release of CentOS 6 after RHEL 6 was released in 2010. Instead, I expect CentOS to follow closely on RHEL's heels from here on out. That's good news for the many cloud, datacenter, and web-hosting companies that rely upon CentOS as their day-in, day-out server operating system.