The new way Red Hat packages its kernel

In light of me working on tpe-lkm, I’ve downloaded the source for the RHEL6 kernel. I noticed right away that there were no patches, that the entire kernel was already pre-patched. I did some googling, and found some others chattering about this, like this one:

I don’t know why people are all up in a huff about this. As a vendor they have the right to release the source code in any form in which they deem appropriate, just so long as they provide full sources of GPL software, which they are. The RHEL kernel is the crown jewel of their operating system, and it’s better for everyone if they protect from it competitors as much as possible.

I’m simply greatful that they decided to keep releasing source code in src.rpm format. They technically don’t have to, and just imagine how hard it would make it on the rest of us, especially the non-commerical clones out there, if they simply released tarballs of code but no rpm spec files.

Their build systems and processes are highly proprietary, and rightfully so. It’s a service they provide to paying customers. I for one tip my hat (pun not intended) to them for making it more difficult for Oracle (and other companies) to steal their support contracts, while keeping the overall impact on everyone else at a minimum.

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