[openstack-dev] RHEL free for developer use (was: Require a level playing field for OpenStack projects)

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Wed Jun 22 01:33:51 UTC 2016

On 2016-06-21 14:48:58 +0200 (+0200), Zane Bitter wrote:
> That isn't my understanding, but it's hard to give a definitive
> answer without knowing what kinds of non-free software you're
> referring to (since I know there have been fierce disagreements
> even e.g. within Debian on topics like firmware blobs).

While I do tend to ascribe to the Debian and OpenBSD (and sometimes
FSF) concepts of "free," I'm mostly referring to source
redistribution issues I experienced in bygone years (my last direct
experiences were back in the RHN/up2date days). Particularly things
like, if I want to (re)build RPMs for RHEL where do I find the SRPMs
used to create them and what license are they distributed under (at
least back then you needed portal access/entitlements to even be
able to download the source packages)?

Poking around a bit, it looks they've since started maintaining
specfiles in public source code repositories and with RHEL 7 they've
made some commitment to keeping CentOS 7 SRPMs consistent (in line
with the community merger) so you can download those directly even
if you aren't a customer and want "RHEL equivalent" SRPMs. I think
it's laudable that Red Hat has started to treat things like
packaging metadata as part of their software and consider it freely
redistributable now, though it makes me wonder if RHEL AS 7 and
CentOS 7 are supposed to be fundamentally the same at this point
(minus support contracts) then what is the point of making RHEL free
for developer use (does it come with a free support contract)? And
if the difference is that there's software/features available in
RHEL that you can't get under CentOS, it sounds an awful lot like an
"open core" scenario still.
Jeremy Stanley

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