July 30, 2009
If you haven't heard, Lance Davis, administrator of the CentOS project is missing in action.
Reading that blog entry is disturbing on several levels. First, and most obvious, is that the single person responsible for the project has been missing.
Above and beyond that is the portrait painted by that blog entry is not one of a healthy open source project.
The first issue is that Lance basically is not actively involved in the project anymore. He attends meetings irregularly. If he was present and was asked certain things, he usually said that he need to look that up or he will do that later. But that never happened. And next to the meetings we do not see or hear from him at all.
That does not bode well. It gets worse, unfortunately
Lance is the only one who has access to the PayPal and Google AdSense accounts that are used on the CentOS websites. This basically means that all money that comes in through those channels went directly to him, not to the project. We again have no control over it.
I really wish that issues like this had come to light prior to his disappearance. It sounds like Lance needs to abdicate instead of abscond.
I'll be watching this carefully. It sounds like the day to day technical operations of CentOS have not been impacted, but the long term view sounds tenuous. I have no doubt that a binary compatible version of Red Hat Enterprise will continue to be available, but it sounds like the form may not always be CentOS.