Hi Roman, thanks for starting this thread!
Here are my thoughts:
1. Apache Crunch 0.9 has been released. As far as I can tell, Apache Crunch 0.8* does not work with HBase 0.96+ so we should definitely incorporate the latest release of Crunch, 0.9.0
2. I am not convinced it's in the best interest of the bigtop community to get rid of RHEL5 at this point. From the small subset of population of users that I meet at conferences (for example, I presented on Bigtop at ApacheCon last year in Portland along with Roman), the impression I get is that RHEL5 is still in very prevalent use. Having said that, I am very well aware of the increased burden of RHEL5 support in some cases - the only two that come to mind right now are python related issues with Hue and Spark, both of whose proposed Bigtop 0.8 versions require Python 2.6.
Long story short, for me, to vote for a decision to get rid of RHEL/Centos 5 support in Bigtop is not an easy one. While I think the aforementioned increased burden is relatively not a lot, I can understand while others may think it is. So, I think we have 3 alternatives:
1. Keep the status quo. Support RHEL5.
2. Don't support RHEL5 at all.
3. Support RHEL5 as a deprecated platform.
The alternatives 1 and 2 are fairly clear on their own but #3 is about a happy medium in my opinion.
In any case, my vote here would be to keep the status quo at #1 but if the community is inclined to not do that, I'd be ok with #3 as well. I am just not convinced if now is the right time to go with #2. I would love to hear what you all have to say though! Thanks!