The problem with making bug reports about CentOS bugs
I mentioned yesterday that I had not made any sort of bug report about our NetworkManager race bug that we found on CentOS 7. The reason why is pretty simple: where can I report it that will do any good?
I can't report it to Red Hat as a bug against Red Hat Enterprise 7. Red Hat does take public bug reports against RHEL the last time I looked, but I'm not running real RHEL, I'm running CentOS. Even if I could, reinstalling a machine with real RHEL 7 simply to be able to make an 'official' bug report for this issue is not an effective or efficient use of my time. By now we're never going to use NetworkManager even if it's fixed; we don't actually need it and the the risks of another bug existing are too high.
(I actually did go through this exercise for one bug, but that was that the RHEL/CentOS 7 version of systemd winds up putting kernel messages in syslog under the wrong facility. This is both potentially likely to get fixed and something that rather matters to us. And that was a straightforward and easily demonstrated bug, which makes bug reports trivial to file (and it still wound up taking up a bunch of time and talking with Red Hat because it initially looked like rsyslog was at fault).)
There seems to be no point in reporting this to CentOS because it's not a CentOS bug as such. CentOS simply rebuilds the upstream RHEL RPMs, so there is exactly nothing they can or will do to fix this bug (assuming it's not specific to the CentOS rebuild of NM, and I have no reason to believe that it is). The corollary to this is that the only bugs I suspect are worth reporting to or against CentOS are basically packaging bugs.
(With that said, people do seem to report a lot of bugs in the CentOS bug tracker.)
Even if I felt like wading into the upstream swamps of NetworkManager,
we're not using anything like the current upstream version of NM
RHEL 7 and thus CentOS 7 is absolutely guaranteed to
be behind the NM times RHEL and thus CentOS almost certainly
patches NM a bunch). As a result upstream would quite rightly
basically laugh at me (perhaps politely, via a 'try to reproduce
this with current NM').
(Having written that, I've just discovered that RHEL/CentOS 7 has a more recent version of NM than Fedora 20 does. CentOS 7 ships 0.9.9.1, apparently pulled from git on 2014-03-26, while Fedora 20 has 0.9.9.0 apparently from 2013-10-03. No, don't ask me. Possibly Red Hat felt that it was really important to use as fixed up a version of NM as possible before a RHEL release.)
Once upon a time this was just how CentOS had to be. But now that Red Hat has kind of taken over CentOS, it strikes me as a rather inefficient way to operate; RHEL is basically passing up the bug finding work that CentOS users are doing. With that said, it seems that Red Hat may unofficially accept 'RHEL' bug reports that actually happen with CentOS, but if so this is not documented anywhere that I can casually dig up (outside of some CentOS bugs with replies that ask people to re-file the bug in the RHEL bugzilla).
(And this lack of documentation is likely causing people other than me to not even bother filing bugs.)
PS: also, I hope it's obvious to people that a setup that routinely causes bug reporters to have to refile their reports in another bug reporting system is a hostile one that implicitly discourages bug reports. It's hoop-jumping in splendid form. If this is the real CentOS procedure, it should be changed (especially now that Red Hat is so involved in CentOS).
Comments on this page:Written on 02 October 2014.