There is no company on Earth that contributes more to the Linux kernel than Red Hat. That said, Red Hat has recently come under some scrutiny for the way it packages the kernel in RHEL 6 – some mis-informed people have gone so far as to question whether or not Red Hat is violating the GPL.
Frankly, I’ve been shocked that Red Hat has been quiet on the topic – until today that is. Red Hat finally broke their silence defending their moves to apply patches to the kernel and not making everything openly available.
“When we released RHEL 6 approximately four months ago, we changed the
release of the kernel package to have all our patches pre-applied.” Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens blogged. “Why
did we make this change? To speak bluntly, the competitive landscape
has changed. Our competitors in the Enterprise Linux market have
changed their commercial approach from building and competing on their
own customized Linux distributions, to one where they directly approach
our customers offering to support RHEL.”
Competition sure has changed. CentOS now has commercial support from OpenLogic and Oracle also builds on RHEL. Red Hat had to do something, while not breaking either the terms or the spirit of the GPL.