ENTERPRISE LINUX OUTFIT Red Hat and the CentOS Project are joining forces to drive key technologies beyond the operating system.
The aim appears to be to make it easier for the open-source community to innovate in areas such as cloud, virtualisation and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies.
Announcing the move, Red Hat said the two veteran Linux development groups are joining forces "to build a new CentOS", and that this will enable Red Hat to accelerate development of enterprise grade subscription solutions for customers and partners.
Meanwhile, the CentOS Project issued a statement saying that it will be working alongside the Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) ecosystems to expand on its community offerings by providing a software ecosystem that other projects can easily access.
The initiative will see CentOS sponsored by Red Hat, similar to the Fedora Project that the firm uses to develop and test new technologies for incorporation into its commercial RHEL distribution.
"Cloud technologies are moving quickly, and increasingly, that code is first landing in RHEL. Today is an exciting day for the open-source community: by joining forces with the CentOS Project, we aim to build a vehicle to get emerging technologies like OpenStack and big data into the hands of millions of developers," said Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens.
As part of the process, CentOS Core team members will take roles at Red Hat, allowing them to work on the project as their primary job function. The project will be overseen by a new CentOS Governing Board, comprising the CentOS Core team plus new members nominated by Red Hat.
The move is expected to see the new CentOS emerge as a Linux distribution drawing on RHEL and other open-source technologies to provide an evolving software base that is open to variation. The intention is that other projects will be able to take CentOS and use it as a basis for developing new cloud, storage, network and infrastructure technologies.
This variant's proposal is explained on the new CentOS website:
A CentOS variant is a special edition of CentOS Linux that starts with the core distribution, then replaces or supplements a specific subset of packages. This might include replacing everything down to the kernel, networking, and other subsystems.
The purpose of a variant edition is to allow another open source project to more effectively use CentOS as a base system.
However, CentOS said in a statement that the existing community-supported CentOS Linux distribution isn't going away. Instead, "the process and methods built up around the platform however are going to become more open, more inclusive and transparent", it said.