4 posts • joined 19 Jul 2007
Off the reservation, again, Ashlee?
Ashlee, do try not to be a sensationalist blowhard, for just a moment.
1. di Bona didn't at any point not considering Microsoft's licence submission on its independent merits, same as any other. He merely used the occasion of that submission to ask several pointed questions -- which the assembled Microsoft coterie of course immediately ducked.
2. Your suggestion that Chris di Bona somehow embodies Google in some fashion reminiscent of the Voice of Sauron is simply wacked. Chris has been representing open source on the basis of his own views and reputation since you were in knee britches. Anyway, there was no reason whatsoever to assume he was voicing the institutional view of Google, Inc., and it's really rather insulting to think that such is automatically the case. He's an OSI Board member, for ghu's sake.
Disentangling source packages vs. binary packages vs. support contracts
Greg's original post had claimed that RHEL "requires a subscription to the closed source Red Hat Network update system". Nope. For reasons cited, this is not true: You can get the full distribution at any time in source RPM format (including the two slightly proprietary non-software packages), without any subscription at all. It's on the public ftp site. You can also get the distribution in built binary format (but with substitutes for RH's trademarked logos and artwork) from CentOS and others.
As to one's ability to "get support without RHN": That's something different. Red Hat ties its support contracts to RHN -- but (avoidable) support contracts have nothing to do with whether software is open source or not.
One might ask: Is it lawful to get a copy of the RHEL binary packages as built by Red Hat, Inc. (e.g., copies of the RHEL binary ISOs)? As mentioned, the source packages from which those get build include two trademark-encumbered non-software packages. The process of compiling the binary RPMs puts some of the trademark-encumbered logos and images into sundry binary RPMs thus built. So, some subsets of the full binary RPMs set would be subject to trademark-based restriction, e.g., against _commercial_ redistribution that arguably could create brand confusion. This is probably the biggest reason why, in practice, it's very rare to find RHEL binary ISOs, along with the fact that the publisher would be underwriting huge bandwidth bills without the legal right to charge for access -- and the fact that it make more sense for people wanting RHEL without a support contract to just fetch CentOS.
That aside, to the best of my knowledge, it would be lawful. But nothing requires that anyone offer it to you, just as nothing requires that support be offered a la carte on term to your liking
As rejoinder to Greg's attempt at the "tu quoque" fallacy, supra: Completely aside from your comment being entirely irrelevant to the issue of badgeware (as keeping the difference between open source and proprietary code would have merit even if Red Hat were itself a proprietary-software vendor), your premise of it being unlawful to redistribute RHEL without an attached RH, Inc. service contract is simply incorrect. Full source code is available in the subtrees of ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/, and all software contents are under (genuine) open source licensing.
There are two non-software source packages: In RHEL3 (the last version on which I've done a full licence audit), these are named redhat-logos and anaconda-images, and have mildly restrictive terms encumbering third-party commercial usage, on grounds of trademark. The corresponding non-software packages in RHEL4 and 5 appear to be redhat-artwork and redhat-logos.
If you wish to have a fully redistributable, binary-format set of the same software, you're free to compile it using your own logos and artwork, not treading on RH's trademarks. Or you can download CentOS, which already does that work for you.
(No connection with RH, Inc.; I just get tired of hearing this misinformation.)
Red Hat fixed it
To the great credit of Red Hat, Inc. and the manager of the RHX project, this problem got comprehensively fixed recently: All RHX Web pages are now quite clear about the fact that RHX offerings are not necessarily open source, and no longer make any implication to the contrary. Well done, good people.
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