[openstack-dev] RHEL free for developer use

Zane Bitter zbitter at redhat.com
Wed Jun 22 11:42:06 UTC 2016

On 22/06/16 03:33, Jeremy Stanley wrote:
> 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)?

I'm not familiar with the ancient history, but the SRPMs dating back to 
the first RHEL release in 2002 are publicly available for downloaded from:


> 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)?

Meh, as a developer I want to develop on the exact OS binaries that I'll 
be running on in production, not a rebuild from the same source. There's 
an official answer that's basically a longer version of that:


There's no support for the free subscription, but it does include access 
to the developer forums and knowledge base.[1]


(BTW "RHEL AS" hasn't been a thing since 2003 ;)

> 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.

This is absolutely not the case.

"Since Red Hat Enterprise Linux is based completely on free and open 
source software, Red Hat makes available the complete source code to its 
enterprise distribution through its FTP site to anybody who wants it." - 


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