Yes, I have asked why they have made this change. I tracked down and interrogated several Red Hat engineers on this issue, and while they were very reticent to speak about it, I discovered the following things:
- It is not about Centos.
- The primary motivation was to make it harder for Oracle Enterprise Linux to repackage the work that Red Hat do.
- The kernel tarball inside the srpm is created from a git tree that is only accessible to Red Hat engineers.
- This change to the way that kernels are dealt with inside Red Hat has angered and frustrated engineers who work on the product. Employees of the company are Not Happy.
- The orders to do this, to make it harder to rebuild the kernel with and without patches, and to make it harder to extract specific patches from the Red Hat kernel came from the top. This is with the knowledge of, and by the order of, the CEO: Jim Whitehurst.
- There is a web interface (somewhere!) that is available that will allow you to specifically omit specific patches and download a new kernel. This is a clunky web front end to the git tree.
- An Oracle engineer I interviewed on this matter greeted this news with in-credulousness, and quickly got out his notebook so he could provide me with links to the various public git trees that oracle maintains of their kernels, and showed me where I could download them from.