Yeah, good luck with that.
While CentOS is a popular non-commercial distro in the enterprise, it's not been entirely clear how CentOS itself is doing. The team just released CentOS 5.6 on April 8, 86 days after the release of of RHEL 5.6 on January 13. That's not too bad, but the RHEL 5 kernel code is not under the new kernel obfuscation plan; that's a RHEL 6 thing.
So where are we with CentOS 6? As of today, May 18, its been 190 days and counting since the November 10, 2010 release of RHEL 6. Oracle Linux 6, by comparison, was released in 94 days (Feb. 11) and non-commercial distro Scientific Linux saw its 6.0 release 114 days (March 3) after the RHEL 6 release.
I put the question to CentOS lead developer Johnny Hughes, who responded with some details on what's happening:
"CentOS 6 is getting very close. The main issues that we are having with CentOS 6 is caused by two things. The first is that we can not build on our current build system since there is no interoperability of RPMs built on EL5 and EL6 (see this bug)
"Our current build systems that have CentOS-5 on them can not be used because of this, so we needed to design a whole new build system for CentOS-6. Since we wanted to build on CentOS and not the upstream EL6 distribution, we needed to literally build what we needed to create the build system first.
"The second issue we are having is that not all the files that Red Hat used in the build process are released. They have intermediate files on their 'Staged' build system that were newer than their Beta release of EL6 or Fedora 12, but older than those released in EL6. These were used to build the released RPMS, but they are not actually in EL6. We have to find (or build) versions of these missing files to get the proper builds.
"We have a CentOS-6 tree with about 95% of the packages to our QA testers now, I expect we should have a release in a couple of weeks."
Which will be welcome news indeed to CentOS fans. Hughes disputed any assumptions that Red Hat's kernel obfuscation plan has adversely affected CentOS.
"As far as the kernel source code, no that has not impacted our ability to build at all. It would impact our ability to pull out a specific patch for testing if we were troubleshooting a problem... like Troy Dawson of Scientific Linux did with this GLIBC issue," Hughes wrote. "But as far as just rebuilding the kernel goes, there is no impact."
I also asked Hughes how the CentOS team reacted to the Hyper-V announcement from Microsoft. He replied: