Clash of the Titans: Oracle Jokes with Red Hat

Oracle publicly laughed at Red Hat for limiting access to their code and offered AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux to use Oracle's sources.

Red Hat’s move to restrict access to its source code sparked outrage in the Linux community, turning practically all open-source advocates against it. However, everyone was waiting to see how the industry’s big names would react to Red Hat’s move.

SUSE was the first to publish a statement criticizing the move, stating unequivocally that they adhere firmly to the open source’s philosophy and moral norms, confirming that they always have and will continue to do so.

Later, they went even further, claiming their plans to fork RHEL to develop a new distribution based on it, ensuring everyone has free access to enterprise Linux.

Oracle, one of the leading players harmed by Red Hat’s decision, remained silent until recently. To everyone’s surprise, their published statement showed no sign of embarrassment; on the contrary, Oracle laughed at Red Hat’s move.

Keep Linux Open and Free

In an article titled “Keep Linux Open and Free – We Can’t Afford Not To,” Oracle openly criticized Red Hat, expressing their surprise at the reasons behind such a move.

IBM doesn’t want to continue publicly releasing RHEL source code because it has to pay its engineers? That seems odd, given that Red Hat as a successful independent open source company chose to publicly release RHEL source and pay its engineers for many years before IBM acquired Red Hat in 2019 for $34 billion.

Also, to their credit, without any qualms about calling things by their real names, Oracle states the main reason behind the decision bluntly.

And perhaps that is the real answer to the question of why: eliminate competitors. Fewer competitors means more revenue opportunity for IBM.

Well, we can’t argue with that. Moreover, IBM/Red Hat’s leadership has prior experience with similar challenges, having successfully discontinued their main competitor CentOS three and a half years ago, transforming it into CentOS Stream, the RHEL’s upstream distro.

The end of the article, however, is quite peppery as, with a bit of a chuckle, Oracle offers Red Hat to pull money out of them if they have difficulties paying their developers’ salaries since they cite as a reason that their work can’t be given away for free to everyone.

In addition, we leave without comment on their proposal, RHEL to become downstream of Oracle Linux.

Finally, to IBM, here’s a big idea for you. You say that you don’t want to pay all those RHEL developers? Here’s how you can save money: just pull from us. Become a downstream distributor of Oracle Linux. We will happily take on the burden.

I suppose when your name is Oracle, and with almost limitless financial resources behind your back, you can afford such an attitude, even if your opponent at the front is named IBM.

AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux to Use Oracle’s Sources

Oracle Linux 9.2
Oracle Linux 9.2

Amidst Red Hat’s restrictive approach, Oracle seized the opportunity to showcase its dedication to the open-source philosophy.

On top of that, Oracle also firmly believes that its distribution will continue to adhere to the values that drive open source and remain open and free for anybody to use.

We want to emphasize to Linux developers, Linux customers, and Linux distributors that Oracle is committed to Linux freedom. Oracle makes the following promise: as long as Oracle distributes Linux, Oracle will make the binaries and source code for that distribution publicly and freely available.

As a follow-up, the suggestion that Linux developers who disagree with Red Hat’s actions can apply for jobs at Oracle also makes a strong impression. This a bold statement, implicitly suggesting and inviting Red Hat developers to take their chances with the software giant from Austin, TX.

By the way, if you are a Linux developer who disagrees with IBM’s actions and you believe in Linux freedom the way we do, we are hiring.

As a continuation of what was said a few days ago, on its official Twitter account, Oracle Linux addressed the main sufferers of the Red Hat decision, AlmaLinux, and Rocky Linux, suggesting that they are free to take the Oracle source code and use it as they see appropriate. Unfortunately, neither distribution has responded to this to date.

Bottom Line

Red Hat, a prominent open-source software solutions provider, is traditionally known for its dedication to the open-source ethos.

Unfortunately, following the CentOS saga and the present restriction on access to their source code, that status has now changed, and it’s unlikely they’ll ever be able to regain it.

So, regardless of the mixed feelings the Linux community has towards Oracle, often underrated, in the current situation, their Oracle Linux, 1:1 binary compatible with RHEL, may be the lifeline for many. Additionally, needless to say, with it, you get a reliable, top-notch Linux distribution.

In closing, however, we must mention that Oracle themselves state that they cannot guarantee that after RHEL 9.2, Oracle Linux will continue to be 1:1 binary compatible with Red Hat’s OS.

In any case, we are in for some fascinating months ahead, in which the enterprise Linux segment may undergo significant changes and realignments of the major players. As always, we will keep an eye on everything related to this topic and keep you updated.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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