CentOS

How about an OpenVZ CentOS Variant?

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I've used RHEL, CentOS and Fedora for many years... and as many of you already know... back in January, CentOS became a sponsored project of Red Hat. For the upcoming CentOS 7 release they are going beyond just the normal release that is an as-perfect-as-possible clone of RHEL. They have this concept of variants... where Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are formed around making special purpose builds of CentOS... spins or remixs if you will. I don't know a lot about it yet but I think I have the basic concept correct.

Looking at the numbers on http://stats.openvz.org/ I see:

Top  host   distros
-------------------
CentOS	     56,725
Scientific    2,471
RHEL	        869
Debian	        576
Fedora	        111
Ubuntu	         82
Gentoo	         54
openSUS          18
ALT Linux        10
Sabayon	          6

and

Top 10  CT  distros
-------------------
centos	    245,468
debian	    106,350
ubuntu	     83,197
OR	      8,354
gentoo	      7,017
pagoda	      4,024
scientific    3,604
fedora	      3,173
seedunlimited 1,965

Although reporting is optional, the popularity of CentOS as both an OpenVZ host and an OpenVZ container surely has to do with the fact that the two stable branches of the OpenVZ kernel are derived from RHEL kernels.

Wouldn't be nice if there were a CentOS variant that has the OpenVZ kernel and utils pre-installed? I think so.

While I have made CentOS remixes in the past just for my own personal use... I have not had any official engagement with the CentOS community. I was curious if there were some OpenVZ users out there who are already affiliated with the CentOS Project and who might want to get together in an effort to start a SIG and ultimately an OpenVZ CentOS 7 variant. Anyone? I guess if not, I could make a personal goal of building a CentOS and/or Scientific Linux 6-based remix that includes OpenVZ... as well as working on it after RHEL7 and clones are released... and after such time the OpenVZ Project has released a stable branch based on the RHEL7 kernel.

I will acknowledge up front that some of the top CentOS devs / contributors have historically been fairly nasty to OpenVZ users on the #centos IRC channel. They generally did not want to help someone using a CentOS system running under an OpenVZ kernel... but then again... their reputation is for being obnoxious to many groups of people. :) I don't think we should let that stop us.

Comments, feedback, questions?

Update: Wow, looking here, they already have OpenVZ listed as being of interest in their Virtualization SIG.

Video: The CentOS Project

I use CentOS quite a bit myself and I know a lot of other CentOS users. Here is a video of one of the main developers (Karanbir Singh ) within the CentOS Project explaining how the CentOS Project works and builds what it builds. Enjoy!

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 is out

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Just noticed I have a ton of updates for a few RHEL 6 boxes... and to me that indicates there is a new update release. So I logged into Red Hat Network and sure enough RHEL 6.3 has been released. I like finding out about it early in the morning and downloading it before everyone else has noticed.

With CentOS and Scientific Linux both pretty adept in rebuilding 6 now, I'd expect new releases from both within 6 weeks or less. Scientific Linux might be at a disadvantage because they lost one of their main guys but they have replaced him. CentOS on the other hand recently announced that some company was sponsoring two CentOS developers so they could work full-time on CentOS. Who will win?

I haven't had a chance to check out the release notes yet but I will soon. I'm hoping a lot of the KVM, libvirt, and virt-manager stuff that has been in Fedora for a while will have filtered back to this update.

Update: July 9th, 2012 - CentOS 6.3 is syncing to the mirrors today so it has won.


Tales of Enterprise Linux Major Version Upgrading

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In the last post I mentioned that I migrated from CentOS 4.9 to Scientific 6.1... and that certain aspects of this Drupal 4.7.x site were broken because of an incompatibility with PHP 5.3.x.

Downgrading a distro

Well, I decided to move from Scientific Linux 6.1 to Scientific Linux 5.7. EL5 offers both PHP 5.1.x and PHP 5.3.x and Red Hat announced a few weeks ago that they are extending the support lifecycle of both RHEL5 and RHEL6 from 7 years to 10 years. Migrating back to EL5 fixes the issues (knock on wood) that I was having with Drupal... but yet I can easily move to PHP 5.3.x at some point in the future if I so desire.

Doing EL major version upgrades

Two friends of mine happened to have CentOS 4.9 OpenVZ containers as well. They also run a number of services I'm less familiar with and weren't really versed enough with Linux to migrate their data like I did. In an effort to help them out, I looked into how to upgrade from EL4 to EL5. That really IS NOT supported or recommended but I thought I'd give it a try and see how it went. If it failed, I'd roll back to the original system. If it succeeded I'd keep it. After much work I *THINK* I figured it out. At least it worked for me in the particular situation I was dealing with. I started off with a page on the CentOS wiki about Upgrading from 4.4 to 5. I did not do a boot media based upgrade (I'm working with containers) so I did it strictly with rpm and yum.

I followed the instructions but they were written some time ago and were a bit outdated. So the first container I did took the longest because I was finding my way. Basically this happens in a few steps.

  1. Install the EL5 repos
  2. Manually download the core packages recommended and install them.
  3. Hopefully when you are done rpm is still working. If yum is broken, manually install a few more packages to make it work.
  4. With a working yum, upgrade everything else
  5. Turn off any new services that happen to be on by default that you don't want
  6. Find any stray packages left over from the previous release
  7. Fix your service configs by comparing your original service configs with the new ones

Read on to find out more of the nitty gritty details.


I called it: CentOS 6 release date

In the interview I did with Troy Dawson of Scientific Linux, I mention that my prediction for CentOS 6.0 is July 11th... but that interview is dated June 6th. Not so prophetic really... but I know I had been saying that for a while. Well, it looks like CentOS 6.0 is coming out on July 11th... or maybe the 12th... depending on when they do he bit flip.

I decided to search my IRC logs for "July 11" to see how far back I originally guessed. I knew that it has been at least a couple of months earlier than June. here's what I found:

[Monday, April 04, 2011] [04:52:57 PM]
<dowdle> bodhi_zazen: And then the plan is for 2-3 weeks after 5.6 is out, 6.0 will be released. I'll believe that when I see it. My guess for CentOS 6.0 is July 11.

[Tuesday, May 10, 2011] [03:16:31 PM]
<dowdle> kaptk2: I don't think anyone is going to displace CentOS anytime soon. I think Scientific Linux is good too... and I'm sure it is growing given the fact that CentOS 6 is so late. My release guess for CentOS 6 is July 11th. :)

[Thursday, July 07, 2011] [11:27:31 AM]
<dowdle> kaptk2: FIIK. My guess for a release date was July 11 and I thought that was overdoing it... but it looks like not. If you want it now, use Scientific Linux.

[Friday, July 08, 2011] [01:21:29 PM]
<dowdle> kaptk2: But of course the dir perms are too restrictive so it'll probably be a few days before they do the bit flip. I want a prize if my July 11th prediction is correct. :)

Update: Looks like they did something unusual and flipped the bit (where the directory is publicly readable) today... on a Sunday... so I was off by one day.


Interview: Troy Dawson from Scientific Linux

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Troy DawsonTroy DawsonRed Hat Inc. rules the "enterprise" Linux market with their Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product line. Novell Inc. (now owned by The Attachmate Group) is second with their SUSE Enterprise Linux product line. To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any free SUSE Enterprise Linux clones but there are a number of free RHEL clones. CentOS is the most well known RHEL clone but with the seeming unending delay of the 6.0 release (July 11th is my guess), CentOS has received quite a bit of criticism leading some users to investigate alternatives. As a result, Scientific Linux is getting a lot of long overdue attention given the fact that it too is a solid enterprise clone... that has been around for a long time... that has a lot of support behind it.

MontanaLinux is proud to present an interview that was conducted via email with Troy Dawson who is a long-time Fermilab employee and Scientific Linux developer.

About Troy Dawson

Montana Linux: Please tell us about yourself... as much as you feel comfortable with... as open or as closed as you want to be... family, education, work, hobbies, etc.

Troy Dawson: My name is Troy Dawson. I have a Bachelors degree in Physics and a Masters degree in Computer Science. I have worked at Fermilab since 1993. I was initially an accelerator operator, and then transferred over to computing in 1999.

I've been working with Linux since 1999.

I am married with two kids. I am very active in my church. I think my main hobbies are family, church, and computers.

HOWTO: CentOS 5 Medialess Remote Install Over VNC

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There have been a few occasions where I have wanted to install CentOS on a remote machine that already had a working flavor of Linux on it. Luckily RHEL / CentOS has a way to do this.

Basic Steps

  1. Download the PXE CentOS kernel and initrd image
  2. Configure the bootloader to boot the CentOS kernel by default
  3. Configure the bootloader with extra parameters for networking and remote VNC
  4. Reboot the machine
  5. Run the vncviewer in listen mode with port 5500 accessible

Ubuntu is Just All Right with Me

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If you know me, you know I'm a Red Hat / Fedora fanboy. I have written a blog post that explain why I'm fond of them and when someone asks me, I refer to it.

Recently a GNOME survey (aka the Neary report) came out that showed who contributes to GNOME and at what levels. Not so oddly enough the results of it turned out similarly to periodic Linux kernel surveys done by LWN and Greg KH. The results being that Red Hat is the top named contributor.

It just so happens that Canonical (the sponsor of Ubuntu) typically does not fair so well on such surveys and as a result they are often criticized for their perceived lack of upstream contributions.


Video: LFNW2010 - RHEL Automation with SystemBuilder

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Automating Configuration, Deployment and Maintenance for Red Hat and CentOS by Kay Williams from Rendition Software.

Running with the Proxmox VE ball?

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I sent this to the centos-virt mailing list today... and thought I'd share it here as well.

Greetings,

I'm a big OpenVZ fanboy. I've sent a few emails on this list that proves that... and I'm sure I've annoyed some people... but be that as it may... I would like to draw everyone on this list's attention to Proxmox VE. What is Proxmox VE?


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