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Red Hat Software Open Source Oracle Linux

Red Hat Stops Shipping Kernel Changes as Patches 184

mvar writes to point out a report from h-online about the Red Hat kernel source controversy. From the article: "Red Hat has changed the way it ships the source code for the Linux kernel. Previously, it was released as a standard kernel with a collection of patches which could be applied to create the source code of the kernel Red Hat used. Now though, the company ships a tarball of the source code with the patches already applied. This change, noted by Maxillian Attems and, appears to be aimed at Oracle, who like others, repackage Red Hat's source as the basis for its Unbreakable Linux. Although targeted at Oracle, the changes will make work harder for distributions such as CentOS."
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Red Hat Stops Shipping Kernel Changes as Patches

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 04, 2011 @12:45PM (#35380650)

    Did they stop shipping diff too?

  • CentOS Impact? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burnin1965 ( 535071 ) on Friday March 04, 2011 @12:53PM (#35380758) Homepage

    Since CentOS is basically removing trademarks and recompiling how exactly does this make their work more difficult? Does CentOS not ship the same kernel as Red Hat by using Red Hat source? Wont CentOS simply compile the pre-patched source from the tarball and be good to go?

  • Bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 04, 2011 @12:59PM (#35380836)

    It also makes life much harder for us downstream engineers who actually have to troubleshoot problems in the Redhat kernel. More often than not, it's a vendor-applied patch responsible for creating the problem in the first place. Now I guess it's up to Redhat Support to come up with a solution, which often reads "in 3 major versions time, if ever"

  • Re:CentOS Impact? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thatseattleguy ( 897282 ) on Friday March 04, 2011 @01:00PM (#35380850) Homepage

    Mod parent up - it's correct.

    The article is completely wrong in relation to CentOS (which aims for 100% binary compatibility to RH). AFAIK, they don't care which patches were applied by RH because they're duplicating the kernel down to the last byte. As you say, they'll just compile the tarball and off she goes.

    The article is correct as far as an entity like Oracle is concerned, which aims to put in its own additions and "improvements".

    I'm of two minds about whether RH is evil or prudent to do this, but on balance I've got no lost love for Larry Ellison, so I give RH the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Friday March 04, 2011 @01:27PM (#35381202)

    Red Hat is doing more heavy lifting than anyone else, but organizations like Oracle and CentOS are leeching off of Red Hat's hard work.

    Boohoo? If you don't want people to leech your work then why would you release it under a license that specifically allows that?

    They are absolutely meeting the requirements of the GPL.

    And so are the people you claim are "leeching" off of Red Hat.

    If these other organizations like Oracle and CentOS were saying "we're going to fork what Red Hat has done and come up with something different because we think we can do it better," like Mandrake did, that would be one thing. But Oracle and CentOS both pretty much have the same message: "we're going to take all the hard work that Red Hat has paid for, claim that ours is just like theirs, but make sure that Red Hat doesn't get paid for it."

    But if they aren't violating the GPL, so what? You've basically constructed a double standard where it's okay for one party to use GPLed code however they want within the bounds of the license but yet you come back and whine about others who are doing the exact same thing. Once again, if you don't want people to use your code this way, why would you release it under a license that was specifically worded in order to allow this?

  • Re:CentOS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ePhil_One ( 634771 ) on Friday March 04, 2011 @02:47PM (#35382330) Journal

    RedHat exercises the GNU freedom by selling for money a distribution consisting mostly of free programs made by others.

    For the record, RedHat is selling support for a distribution they have engineered. They aren't selling the distribution, except possibly a "media charge", year 1 to obtain the support and year 2 to maintain the support are the same price.

    CentOS does not offer any support beyond the standard Open Source model of chat boards, bugzilla, etc. As a general rule, when I introduce Linux to a company with a small unsupported project, I bring in CentOS, not Fedora, because I know if it takes off we'll be bringing in RHEL 9 times out of 10 when the company decides they want/need support. That way, there is pretty much zero retraining of the staff that needs to happen.

  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday March 04, 2011 @03:33PM (#35382872)

    Red Hat's job isn't to make things easier for CentOS, or Oracle for that matter - how is that even relevant? Red Hat isn't doing anything that's disallowed by the GPL. They're not even doing anything that could be reasonably interpreted as "contrary to the spirit of the GPL".

    They're still releasing the source. They're still paying their coders to do substantial work on the kernel. How big of a twit do you have to be to complain about how they release their kernel updates?

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Friday March 04, 2011 @05:14PM (#35383978) Homepage Journal

    Redhat repackages projects from all over the community to make its OS, adding in their own contributions and doing QA. It's not entirely theirs. They know that lone geeks and smaller shops are not their revenue source; they'll get most of their funds from larger businesses that in another world would be Solaris or HP-UX users.

    It's not a "cheap knockoff" or "hacked" when all that's changed is to swap out some logos and stuff. Redhat's efforts only work because they coexist with the community that writes the software. If this is "slowly killing the company", it's been dying from its birth. It has survived so far in this environment, in symbiosis with everyone else. Sure, it's different than how things work in other parts of the industry, but that doesn't make it broken.

    Linux companies are not a baseball team, and they're not individually meant to grow into huge empires. They're based, in the end, on broad efforts of the community. When they can make a moderate profit and push Linux, great! However, it's in our interest that should they ever misbehave, they can be shunned and will feel pain or die. They should be wearing our leash, not the other way around. If you like wearing the leash of some commercial software company, go for it.

  • by internettoughguy ( 1478741 ) on Friday March 04, 2011 @05:34PM (#35384214)

    30% of all webservers? Sheesh, and folks wonder why Linux never gets anywhere. I mean here you have a company that sinks serious money into R&D and improvements to the ENTIRE Linux ecosystem, yet because there are so many Linux users that are "free as in beer!" you'd rather run your network on a hacked copy and risk getting screwed, like when CentOS nearly went tits up, than to actually spend a buck and help pay for your own OSes improvements by supporting the company making those improvements.

    I'm sure I'll be modded down for daring to point out this sad little bit of reality, but you want to know why Linux is a blip on the map? Here you go. Companies rightfully see there is no money in Linux because FOSSies will go to great lengths not to pay even when it ultimately hurts themselves. Think RH did this change for fun? Nope, it is because you and so many others are slowly killing the company by refusing to buy the product but you want the fruits of their labor anyway.

    Say what you want but THIS, this right here, is why the proprietary model wins out over the FOSS model. It is because companies that make good popular products actually get increased capital they can use to grow and expand, whereas with FOSS three minutes after it comes out someone is copying the code to make a cheap knockoff just to get out of paying. Kinda sad actually.

    What a pointless, and trollish diatribe, the whole point of the Red Hat business model is that you don't really buy RHEL, you buy a RHEL support contract. People using CentOS are no different from people using debian, or any other "free as in beer" distro.

    Whether Red Hat's business model is sustainable is up for debate, but at least they don't depend on statist copyright policies and software patents.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan