RHEL source code controversies explained, and more!

RHEL source code controversies explained, and more!

RHEL source code isn't freely available anymore

This is pretty big news, and it deserves some explanation. I will do my best to provide some context about this change and explain it truthfully, though there are currently contradicting sources of information.

A bit of history: RHEL is Red Hat's Linux distribution aimed at enterprises; its binaries are available to Red Hat's customers; some of these are paying for it, though free developer accounts also exist. When signing up for it, you have the right - guaranteed by the GPL license - to see the source code, but Red Hat disallows any form of re-sharing of that code in the agreement. This has never been important, as RHEL's code has always been open source and publicly available to everyone (customers and non-customers).

Because of that, distributions were created based on RHEL's code with "bug-to-bug compatibility". These, in practice, allowed using RHEL without becoming Red Hat customers. The most notable of these distributions CentOS, which was later (2014) adopted by Red Hat officially. In 2020, CentOS was discontinued in favor of "CentOS Stream", which however has a significant difference: instead of being based on RHEL, Stream is more of a "development version/preview" of RHEL, always rolling with the latest changes.

This made CentOS Stream unappealing to enterprise customers, which require the stability of RHEL. Thus, new distributions (AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux) quickly raised in popularity by - again - using RHEL's source code to provide a completely compatible downstream. Red Hat decided that these distributions are a "threat to open source, and one that has the potential to revert open source back into a hobbyist- and hackers-only activity".

They have thus decided not to make RHEL source code publicly available anymore. However, the code can still be seen by Red Hat customers, including those with free dev accounts; in theory, Alma/Rocky Linux developers could make an account and use it. In practice, they can't, as the agreement won't allow them to re-distribute the source code they get this way.

CentOS Stream code continues to be available for everyone, which is why Red Hat claims that they are not going closed-source. However, again, it is impossible for distributions to be based on CentOS Stream and achieve full compatibility with RHEL, since Stream is - again - more of a development preview.

Obviously, the move wasn't well received in most of the Linux community, and there is an active debate on whether Red Hat is abiding by GPL or not. If you're interested in learning more, you can find the statements from Red Hat here:

Furthering the evolution of CentOS Stream
As the CentOS Stream community grows and the enterprise software world tackles new dynamics, we want to sharpen our focus on CentOS Stream as the backbone of enterprise Linux innovation. We are continuing our investment in and increasing our commitment to CentOS Stream. CentOS Stream will now be the…
Red Hat’s commitment to open source: A response to the git.centos.org changes
More about Red Hat’s decision to make CentOS Stream the primary repository for RHEL sources.

Also, you can find here various articles covering what has happened, if you want to go more in-depth:

Et Tu, Red Hat?
Something odd happened to git.centos.org last week. That’s the repository where Red Hat has traditionally published the source code to everything that’s a part of Red Hat Enterprise Lin…
Red Hat strikes a crushing blow against RHEL downstreams
From now on, only CentOS Stream’s source code is available to all
Red Hat ends the RHEL clones’ free lunch
Red Hat is forcing companies to choose a successor to CentOS Linux. Think carefully about the foundation of your infrastructure and who will support it long-term.

Finally, here are the replies by AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux regarding RHEL changes:

AlmaLinux OS - Forever-Free Enterprise-Grade Operating System
An Open Source, community owned and governed, forever-free enterprise Linux distribution.
Brave New World: The Path Forward for Rocky Linux | Rocky Linux
Rocky Linux is an open enterprise Operating System designed to be 100% bug-for-bug compatible with Enterprise Linux.

OpenSUSE uploads new Linux parody songs

Let's try to focus on something a bit more fun, now. OpenSUSE is known for releasing parody songs, which you can find in a playlist here. These include great classics like "Can't Stop the SUSE", "We Didn't Start the Kernel", "Uptime Funk" and many more. Luckily for us, they are still working on new songs, and we just got four new ones. The first one is "Where Open Source Grows", which you can see above this paragraph. Here are the other three:

Opera releases Opera One, a redesigned AI browser

Opera is working on releasing a significant update to their browser, featuring many features (including, of course, an AI assistant). By pressing Ctrl + / an overlay will appear, allowing for text input, which will be given to the AI called "Aria" (developed in collaboration with OpenAI). In theory, Aria should be able to integrate with the browser and e.g. be able to see search results, but it's yet unclear how that will work.

Other features of the release include "Tab Islands", which will visually group together all tabs that you opened by e.g. clicking the results of a certain Google search:

The interface is also more modular, meaning that it's possible to disable and enable certain components (including the above-mentioned Aria) or adjust them automatically based on the available space. If you're interested in checking out more about the new Opera, you can read here:

The New Opera One Is Out, Brings Built-in Browser AI
Opera hits a milestone with version 100, unveiling Opera One, the stable release packed with an impressive set of innovative features.