[lug] Fedora *MEETS* KRUD comments wanted

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Fri Sep 26 16:56:13 MDT 2003

I've really enjoyed the quality of this discussion!

A month or two ago I started digging in to the sorts of questions that
are coming up with respect to Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL),
redistribution, licensing, etc.

Here are my notes and quotes on the topic, with references (usually...)
Not real organized or pretty, and sometimes contradictory, but
hopefully relevant....

I'd love to see definitive answers on some of these questions.
But of course many of the answers can change over time....


Neal McBurnett                 http://bcn.boulder.co.us/~neal/
Signed and/or sealed mail encouraged.  GPG/PGP Keyid: 2C9EBA60

*Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

 Announced in 2002-5
 Created because ISVs said that
  Red Hat's consumer/retail products were not suitable for meeting the
  long term needs of the commercial IT infrastructure. A different
  product strategy was required.
 Enterprise: less bleeding edge, slower release cycle.  12-18 vs 4-6 month
   => time for certification, benchmarks
 long-term support, vs "errata for 1 year from initial product availability"
 extensive API compatibility focus

 2003-03, current versions: RHEL v2.1 and redhat 8

[Looking for free redistribution of all the RPMs for Red Hat Enterprise
Linux releases.]

 a reader speaks loudly: Is this product going to fall under the GPL
 license? If so will the ISO images be available for download?

 Shadowman says: Like the Red Hat Linux products before it, Advanced
 Server contains software from a variety of sources. The majority of
 it is open source (using a variety of licenses, including the GPL),
 with a few packages consisting of "redistributable" content.

 This means that, like the Red Hat Linux products before it, the
 sources for the software comprising Advanced Server will be available
 to anyone wanting a copy. And -- as always -- any code written by Red
 Hat is GPL'ed, with the sources being freely available.

 However, unlike the Red Hat Linux products before it, we will not be
 making ISO images freely available for Advanced server. However, if
 you are a "1337 haxx0r d00d" with "m4d ski11z" (or even a mildly
 interested sysadmin with a year or two of Linux experience), and you
 want to roll your own, go for it. Shadowman recommends that you might
 consider reviewing our trademark policies
 (http://www.redhat.com/about/corporate/trademark/) before doing
 something like going into business selling it on eBay, however. Since
 Java technology is part of Advanced Server, if you "roll your own",
 you'll have to acquire a JRE/JDK yourself.


 Wed, Jun. 11th, 2003, 03:51 pm
 Letter to FSF on Red Hat GPL compliance:

 Today I sent a letter to the FSF asking for their opinion on an
 apparant discrepancy I've noticed in the Red Hat Linux EULA and the
 requirements of the GPL.

 "Red Hat Linux itself is a collective work under U.S. Copyright Law.
 Red Hat grants you a license in this collective work pursuant to the
 GNU General Public License."

 From this it appears safe to assume that they are releasing their own
 content as GPL-covered code and are not implying and modification to
 the underlying licensing of the component software.

  "This means that, like the Red Hat Linux products before it, the
  sources for the software comprising Advanced Server will be
  available to anyone wanting a copy. And -- as always -- any code
  written by Red Hat is GPL'ed, with the sources being freely

 However, the Red Hat Linux Advanced Server and Services Agreement[2]
 is not in keeping with the EULA. Specifically, it draws no
 distinction between an installed copy of the GNU/Linux software and
 an instance of the software which is participating in their paid
 services program.  In fact, the document appears to specifically deny
 the existince of such a distinction, effectively binding me into
 purchasing their professional services simply as an inherent
 byproduct of installing GNU/Linux.

  Their contract is for the various services, not the software, and
  for the services they are entitled to demand whatever concessions
  they think the market will bear.

  The binary ISO's from what I recall have binary images that are not
  covered under a redistributable arrangement, so in order to
  redistribute them Redhat AS CD's, you would have to remove the
  Images and replace them with something else.


 But the tarballs haven't been modified, or, if they have, it's
 exclusively using separate patch files against the pristine
 sources. IANAL, but I suspect RH are technically creating 'collective
 works' rather than 'derivative works'.


 I seem to recall reading that the public selection of src.rpms for AS
 are incomplete, presumably for reasons including encouraging people
 to buy it from RH (after all, RH are obliged to distribute the source
 of GPLed components, but not necessarily their src.rpms and/or .spec

  quotes FSF 2nd hand as saying that you would have to re-build from source,
  possibly without 

 Red Hat Enterprise Applications is a set of of software products. For
 more information about Red Hat Enterprise Applications, see
  Red Hat Web Application Framework; Red Hat Enterprise CMS, a content
  management system; and Red Hat Enterprise Portal Server, a portal

 April 2002: http://www.practical-tech.com/infrastructure/i040703.htm
 The End of Free Linux Binaries? -- 7 April 2003 by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
   [addressed to linux resellers]
 So it is that the day of free business Linux distributions is for all
 practical purposes at an end.  There will always be some of us, of
 course, whose expertise lies in getting the most from any Linux for a
 customer and others for whom tweaking a Linux distribution just so
 for a vertical application is the way to go. But for the vast
 majority of resellers and integrators, you'll need a commercial
 Linux. It is, after all, what most of your customers wanted all
 along.  Some Linux resellers don't care for this.

 Red Hat still offers a no-cost option for their Red Hat binaries, but
 there's no link to it from their Web site

 SuSE's UnitedLinux build, SuSE Linux Enterprise Edition 8, is only
 available to paying customers.

  None of these [enterprise editions] have ever been available in free
  binary formats. None of them ever will be.

 May 19, 2003 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:SUNW) today announced
 that it has entered into a global alliance agreement with Red Hat
 (NYSE: RHAT) to distribute Red Hat's market leading Enterprise Linux
 operating system, and to broaden the use of each other's technologies
 in the rapidly growing volume server marketplace. As part of the
 agreement, Red Hat will distribute Sun's Java Virtual Machine (JVM)
 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, extending the reach of the world's
 most popular application environment.

 Mandrake's download page: "Since Mandrake Linux is an Open Source
 product, it needs your financial contribution. Developing a Linux
 distribution is very costly, so it's up to the community of users to
 ensure its health." Mandrake, for those who don't follow such things,
 is in the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

 Some have asked couldn't they switch to one of the Free BSDs where
 free binaries are still the rule. Well, they could, but there's far
 less public support and the only BSD with business class support is
 Wind River's BSD/OS with its $497.50 per CPU per license per year
 with a small number of licenses. TANSTAAFL

Doesn't Redhat need a large pool of folks running Enterprise versions at home
  for free to make it viable?  Perhaps they did originally but not now?

 trademark issue

 How OpenBSD makes money - the software is free, but the official CD
 images are copyright and non-redistributable.

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