What you are saying now doesn't require a non-upstreamed kernel feature and since you didn't point out any specific feature, I don't think that was the cause. Red Hat upstreamed and backported several features from 2.5 series and maybe Oracle was depending on one of them. Since you aren't claiming that Red Hat was deliberating hoarding patches, it throws out the idea of competition having any effect. If you could show any case where upstream went in a different direction and that causing ISV's to depend on Red Hat specific features, I would be very interested to hear about that. In my understanding, there is no such case. If there was a pattern of such behavior, it should be trivial to point out a few of them.