Red Hat/IBM's announcement of the end of CentOS as we knew it, turning it into a rolling development beta program of the commercial GNU/Linux distro for enterprises, is a reminder that Free Software is not to be mistaken for gratis software.

A resilient Free Software community requires more than a single maintainer, individual or incorporated: individuals have the imponderable bus-hit factor, but corporations can be reliably predicted to do that which maximizes the return on the investment.

If you're reliant on a project maintained by any one of them, it's good to have a backup plan. The nice thing about Free Software is that this doesn't have to be another program: you can plan to keep on using the same software, maintaining it by yourself or along with other users in the community.

Now that CentOS will no longer build and publish binaries out of the SRPMS published by Red Hat, community members and users can get together and form an actual, independent community project to do so.

CentOS, just like the distro it is based on, is not entirely Free Software, so this would be a good opportunity to strip the distro free of the freedom-denying binary blobs packaged within the kernel Linux, and the many more that are distributed in separate packages.

I'd name such a project DeCentOS, or RHEAVEN.

It's not reasonable to approach Free Software projects as resources that will be always there at your disposal, whether or not you contribute to them. The software will be there, but bit-rotten, without the resources needed to maintain it. In a way, the price of software freedom is eternal maintenance.

It's always more sustainable to budget some resources to participate in maintaining it: the more community participation there is, the less likely it is that any one party will try to pull the rug from under you.

So blong,