A Red Hat software engineering manager explains how CentOS Stream can help developers in the open source community who use Linux.
Red Hat’s Stefan Mattejiet has been working with open source technologies for years. His first introduction to them came about when he was working in a government department.
“The programming language of choice back then was Perl running on various early enough versions of Red Hat and other flavours of Linux,” he recalls.
“From there I progressed to many different roles in a lot of different industries including travel, finance, technology and even start-ups, with the vast majority of these roles involving different aspects of open source technologies, so that has been a continuing thread throughout my career.”
Now, Mattejiet works as a software engineering manager with Red Hat. The company is a big name in the open source scene as it creates open source tech for enterprises.
Its flagship operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), is one of the most widely used enterprise platforms.
Most recently, Red Hat’s engineers have been working on a product called CentOS Stream. The tech was initially introduced as a preview version to RHEL. It is positioned as a midstream between Fedora Linux and RHEL, and provides the latest software packages.
According to Mattejiet, CentOS Stream was created to enable open source community members to contribute to future versions of RHEL “in a consistent and predictable manner”.
He says that CentOS “provides much greater transparency and contribution opportunities for communities, partners and customers of RHEL by giving them early access to the same code that Red Hat will use to build future versions of RHEL”.
The most recent version of CentOS Stream was released in December 2021, and Mattejiet tells SiliconRepublic.com that the software engineers at Red Hat are “currently actively working towards” CentOS Stream 10.
When the next version of CentOS is released it will become RHEL 10, as the company’s engineers are also working on building CentOS Stream into the next version of RHEL.
This process requires a lot of cross-collaboration between Red Hat the company and the wider open source community.
“The CentOS Stream engineering team’s role has many different facets but some of the primary responsibilities are around making sure that future versions of CentOS Stream remain compatible with RHEL while also building new features and providing updates in a timely manner,” says Mattejiet.
Before a new package is formally introduced to CentOS Stream, it undergoes a series of tests and checks to ensure it meets the standards for inclusion on RHEL.
“As the CentOS Stream code becomes the next minor release of RHEL, developers can contribute directly to RHEL and test their workloads before new releases are published,” says Mattejiet. “This can have a large impact for developers as CentOS Stream serves as a direct bridge between the community and RHEL development.”
“It also empowers the wider open source community to have direct input into what is one of the most stable, secure and respected distributions of Linux that is available, thus making sure that the open source community’s voice is very clearly heard and incorporated into what is a truly open source community and Red Hat partnership-driven operating system.”
Benefits of CentOS for organisations include faster access to new features as part of future releases of RHEL and the ability to shape RHEL by providing feedback through CentOS Stream.
CentOS Stream’s open development model enables anyone to see all the code and discussions “as they take place with everything freely and easily available to everyone at all times,” according to Mettejiet.
“This development model, while emphasising the contributions from the open source community, also enables much faster feedback loops and gives additional testing opportunities which can then lead to updates and new features being incorporated on a much quicker basis.”
“Working in this way really helps to promote transparency, engagement and collaboration from the open source community and is the defining ethos that encapsulates the entire CentOS Stream distribution and purpose,” he concludes.
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