SUSE with a Statement in Light of Red Hat’s Recent Actions

SUSE has issued an official statement in response to the growing concern in Open Source circles due to Red Hat's actions. Here's what they said.

At the end of last week, Red Hat’s decision to limit access to its source code predictably caused a wide response. It blew up the Open Source community, and quite predictably, almost all of the comments are negative.

And with good reason. Whatever business language is used to dress up and explain this decision demonstrates the Red Hat crowd’s strong dissatisfaction with the rapid imposition of Rocky and Alma on the enterprise Linux scene.

The goal is clear – by moving to the edge of the legally allowed possibilities given by the GPL license and trampling on all the values on which the Open Source model is built, Red Hat is doing its best, if not to end, at least to put severe difficulties in the future existence of Rocky and Alma.

In this case, the paradox is that Red Hat itself was built thanks to Open Source and would not exist today if the Linux pioneers had done the same 30 years ago.

Things got even worse when, in an attempt to justify their decision, Red Hat labeled those involved in recompiling their source code as “freeloaders,” “rebuilders,” and “hobbyist,” going so far as to claim that “Simply rebuilding code, without adding value or changing it in any way, represents a real threat to open source companies everywhere.”

Against the backdrop of the growing discontent directed against Red Hat, but also affecting all company-backed Linux distros in some way, SUSE has made an official statement on the topic.

SUSE Remains Firmly on the Open Source Path

Dr. Thomas Di Giacomo, President of Engineering, Product, and Innovation at SUSE, stated on the company’s blog that despite the recent turmoil caused by Red Hat’s decision to restrict access to its source code, SUSE firmly stands by its Open Source values and will continue to adhere to them in the future.

At SUSE, the principles of open source and power of collaboration are dear to us. While changes in the open source landscape may shift dynamics, we firmly believe that the freedom to access, modify, and distribute software should remain open to all. Our commitment to customer satisfaction, stability and reliability remains unwavering.

Dr. Thomas Di Giacomo, President of Engineering, Product, and Innovation at SUSE

What can we say in response to such a statement? We can only applaud it warmly as all SUSE and openSUSE users have every reason to be proud of the distribution they have placed their trust in.

In today’s business world, when profit is the only thing that excites corporations, SUSE demonstrates that they have not forgotten the model to which they owe their existence and will continue to follow it without making sharp turns serving unpleasant surprises to users.

Furthermore, despite being in the same market niche, SUSE is the only company to oppose Red Hat’s decision publicly. We can’t hide that this wins both our sympathy and, we believe, that of the rest of the Open Source community as well.

What Next?

First, despite all its contributions to the development of Linux, Red Hat crossed the red line by restricting access to its source code, earning the right to be the bad guy in the Linux world for many years. Honestly, I don’t think that status can ever be changed.

Following the discontinuation of CentOS and its reemergence as CentOS Stream, the distribution’s popularity dropped. This trend is expected to increase even further now that user churn is imminent.

Trust is lost, and you have to wear a big red hat on your head and rose-colored glasses to continue believing that you can rely on a distribution for the long term that has done everything it can to prove that the Linux community is just words without meaning.

On the other hand, SUSE, particularly with their openSUSE Linux and Debian, could be the big winners of the situation, as disappointed Red Hat users are expected to switch to them. And that would be the most logical turn of events.

Given that Canonical also tried hard to make Ubuntu lose its position as the leading Linux distribution, SUSE remains the only right move for users preferring a company-backed one.

Often underrated, openSUSE, with its Leap and Tumbleweed editions, gives the best possible experience for the Linux user, backed by top-notch support, reliability, and predictability.

Trust is an essential component of any Linux distribution and is a determining factor for its successful existence. While Red Hat has lost ground, SUSE remains firmly on the Open Source route, so if you’re considering a switch, the cute green chameleon may be the answer.

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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13 Comments

  1. I would like to point out SUSE’s source code distribution policy from their website: https://www.suse.com/source-code/

    “Typically, the source code is distributed along with the binaries. You can also send us a written request to provide the source code for a SUSE product by addressing your written request to:”

    Evidently, putting moving your source code from one git repository to another is much worse than forcing people to write a physical letter to request the source code.

    • Centos Stream is not RHEL. Centos Stream is a development test bed and isn’t the same as RHEL.

      Red Hat is no longer making their RHEL SRPMs available to non-paying customers. The trouble is that they will cancel the subscription and access to the SRPMs if a paying customer redistributes these. It skirts the GPL.

      With the new setup, no one can get the corresponding RHEL SRPMs and build an identical clone to RHEL. Not without jumping through some creative hoops with containers. That is what is going on.

      Also, the written offer is part of the GPL and not a choice that SUSE came up with.

  2. Make SUSE runs every linux app – like Arch or the Debian-based distros – and you will gain all the followers you can handle.

    Make it so, I can run a linux program written 3 years ago without a ton of drama.

    Otherwise, it’s just pretty talk.

  3. Except SUSE offers their own 1:1 binary compatible rebuild of SUSE in the form of OpenSUSE Leap. The code is there, available as-is, without having to look at patchsets, or trying to piece together which versions of what you should be using, and which patches you should leave out.

  4. What do you expect? Red Hat caved in to IBM’s acquisition in July 2019. And if you know IBM, they want to control the world, just liuke Microsoft also does. The Linux world is in great flux and may never be the same after this idiotic move by Red Hat!

    • You are an idiot to make such accusations without having no idea about the reasons. Parasites like you threat the real purpose of open source.

  5. Honestly, ive never tried redhat, thought its not open. Debian and suse i love, more debian, but suse came first.

  6. IBM is a company in sharp decline, and they have placed the newly-christened Blue Hat Linux on the sinking ship with them. Oracle and Canonical, and perhaps SuSE, have the correct model: here’s the software; download it, run it, and if you want to pay us for support, we’re ready for you. Locking down the bits is for old-world closed source operating systems.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if upstream software publishers begin to poison-pill their software to prevent its inclusion in future versions of IBM Hat Linux.

  7. I don’t believe Rocky or Alma are the target here, it’s more like they’re sadly caught in the cross-fire. RedHat wants Oracle to stop profiting off their back.

  8. The criticisms launched against Red Hat seem to set an expectation beyond the provisions of the GPL. While Red Hat fully complies with the GPL, critics argue this isn’t enough – that to be a true supporter of open source, a company must conform to specific business practices. But this perspective fails to recognize the reality of running a business in the open-source space. It’s unreasonable to label a company as an “enemy” if it doesn’t operate exactly as critics would like, even when it adheres to open-source licensing and continues to make substantial contributions to the community.

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