Re: Current RHEL fragmentation landscape

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On 2023-07-25 04:25, Phil Perry wrote:
Nonsense. For years Red Hat freely published the complete RHEL SRPMs to their public ftp server.

No, they didn't.  Take a look at the planning guide diagrams, here:

A RHEL major release isn't a single lifecycle.  It's a sequence of minor releases, many of which have 4 year lifecycles of their own.  Red Hat never published the updates for those lifecycles after the first 6 months, which is why CentOS had long gaps with no updates every 6 months, while they built a new release.

If Red Hat had published *all* of their source, then CentOS could have continued publishing security errata right up until they were ready with a new minor release.  But that's not the way that it worked.

Few people, if any, were ever really concerned about the fact that Red Hat didn't publicly publish the source for their extended support life cycles.  But, that's what minor releases fundamentally *are*, so it's weird to see users unhappy with arrangement today, in which the current sources for RHEL are published to the CentOS Stream git repositories, and the minor releases are treated the same way that extended support life cycles always have been.

3. Per Red Hat EULA, customers can not freely distribute the source code. (ref: Red Hat EULA)

It's a little more complex than that, but probably close enough for now.

It's not complex at all. The GPL absolutely allows recipients to freely redistribute the RHEL sources.

That's not what I'm saying.  The GPL does allow RHEL customers to redistribute source code for GPL-licensed software.  The complexity is that the license doesn't require Red Hat to continue business relationships and support users who choose to do that. And that most of RHEL isn't GPL-licensed.

This is the point at which I think we start to wade out into the territory of myth.  It has never been possible to create a clone of RHEL from the code that Red Hat published.

Of course it has.

No, it wasn't.  CentOS's maintainers were pretty clear about this when they were asked:

"CentOS was NEVER bug-for-bug compatible. ... Sometimes CentOS shipped packages which did not have a particular bug because we could not exactly duplicate the build environment and other times we added new bugs because our build environment is not exactly the same... At best, CentOS has been "good-enough" compatible for a set of years "

And that's only for the packages that they actually shipped. CentOS never reproduced the extended life cycles that RHEL provided, which are what make minor releases actually valuable. Without the overlapping life cycles, there's just not a really good reason to have minor releases.

The GPL *requires* Red Hat to publish the full sources including "the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable."

To customers, yes.

Red Hat goes above and beyond that requirement, by publishing the current state of the source code to the public, for both GPL and non-GPL software.

First, because Red Hat doesn't publish the information that would be required to create reproducible builds.

Yes they do - it's all in the SRPMs.

See for more information.  It isn't all in the SRPMs.  As above, CentOS's maintainers were always clear that it was never possible to reproducibly build RHEL.

5. Red Hat's policy change contradicts the GPL's spirit.

As you acknowledge, that's a subjective question.  I would say "no."

Seriously? You are the only person here who thinks that.

I don't think I am, but it doesn't really matter.  Most of RHEL isn't GPL anyway.  Even if the subscription agreement only covered content that wasn't GPL, you still can't build RHEL from the GPL sources alone.

The GPL isn't anti-commerce.  It doesn't prevent the sale of software.  The spirit of the license is that users should be able to modify the code and build new systems, which they certainly can do with RHEL source code.  There's no secret sauce in RHEL that isn't publicly available to users who want to build something new.

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