Posted Mar 9, 2011 16:56 UTC (Wed) by RogerOdle (subscriber, #60791)
Parent article: Red Hat and the GPL
1. The GPL only imposes an obligation on RedHat to those is distributes to. Not to anyone else.
2. The GPL does not require RedHat to reveal the patches unless those patches are distributed as items as separate items. That may be the case here, I have not looked at the details.
3. The GPL requires RedHat to share the source of the final product that is distributed with those it distributes to. Those receiving that source can use common GNU tools for building patches themselves, though this will not help them understand much about why the differences are there.
4. It has been a courtesy and a matter of honor that distributors have shared patches. The GPL does not demand it. Any obligation to share patches is outside of the obligations of the GPL and is a matter of contracts beyond the GPL.
RedHat is honoring its GPL obligations by providing the source for its product to its customers. It is protecting itself, as much as it can, by withholding the information for how it got from one distribution to the next.
RedHat is still operating Fedora and that has been and will continue to be a great tool for promoting Linux and educating the public. It is less stable and less suitable than enterprise versions for business purposes but that is intentional. It is the proving ground after all.
Making an enterprise class distribution is very expensive. How long did it take RedHat to lock down, verify, and test RHEL 6 before releasing it? It large team of engineers, time, and equipment. I think the beta was out at least 6 months before the official release. Now companies have started up relying on RedHat to carry the water while they are not obligated to contribute to this hardening process. That is not fair.
I wish people would calm down. This bickering is only a source of laughter for Microsoft and it's proprietary buddies. The Open Source business model was established on a model of trust. We struggle daily with how we honor that trust and the obligations that it imposes on us while we are trying to put bread on our tables. While honorable people are growing in ways that benefit everyone, less honorable people are looking for ways to game the legal system to make a buck at other's expense. I think that RedHat is trying to find a way to protect itself from the less hororable type.