Whether for Good or for bad, Red Hat Modifies Kernel Source Release System, Poisons the Ecosystem

Red Hat has become a perfect model of an open-source based business and has shown the world how to make money with open-source. Red Hat is the first billion-dollar open-source company and has a lot to boast. With some serious kernel development going on at Red Hat, many other small-time companies have based their business around the kernel patches and updates released by Red Hat.

Until now, the Red Hat kernel source was shipped upstream and extra patches were downloaded and applied at build time. However, Red Hat is keen on shedding off some leaches now, the biggest one being Oracle. Oracle has been feeding off Red Hat’s kernel development until now, and releases a flavor of Linux that goes by the name of Unbreakable Linux. This Unbreakable Linux is a repackage of the kernel released by Red Hat.

Ironically, Unbreakable Linux has every chance of breaking now because Red Hat is shipping its Linux kernel codes differently. In this new system, the kernel is patched already, and as no information is available on which patches these are. Thus, any further modification attempt has chances of breaking the kernel. There you go Unbreakable Linux, broken in every sense of it. The changes made by Red Hat do not violate any terms of the GPLv2 license, and that is what matters for red Hat.

This is one of those management moves that make future statistics look good. Red Hat should undo this change and stop killing the basis of its prospering business, because the only benefit this change brings to Red Hat, is a lot of bad name in the world of open-source.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.