Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

The Influence of Red Hat

Red Hat has been one of those names associated with Linux since its early days. The company is now owned by IBM after many years of independence. However, it has got itself embroiled in controversy because of its terms for gaining access to the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), one of its important products. That is reflected in this listing and makes one wonder what the Free Software Foundation makes of the development. The changes to CentOS raised enough hackles among those using that for web services and high-performance computing, so you have to wonder what Red hat’s commitment to free and open-source software really means these days.


When CentOS was changed from being downstream of RHEL to being both a rolling distribution and being upstream, AlmaLinux was one of the projects that stepped in to fill the void that was left. That was easier when RHEL source was more easily available, but another approach is needed now that is no longer the case. The project has its corporate backers so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

CentOS Stream

Until recently, CentOS was a fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that was available without charge. It also was independent until Red Hat took over the project, a situation allowed through GPL that is now difficult to accomplish following recent changes in source code availability. Another change is that it no longer has all the validation of RHEL because it has been moved upstream in the process. It also is a rolling distribution (hence the Stream moniker), so there is less of the immutability of old.


The Influence of Red Hat

When Red Hat decided to keep its name for its lucrative commercial activities (like Red Hat Enterprise Linux), it created the Fedora project to keep community participation going. The predecessor was the basis of other distributions but that no longer is so much the case.

The default spin of Fedora uses the GNOME desktop environment in near enough to its default state. Others with KDE, Xfce and LXDE desktop environments are available if these are more to your liking.

The distro has been the subject of various experimental dalliances over the years. One of these involved getting a web server stack working and there was a run in with SELinux along the way; an acceptable solution was found after quite a search: setting a dedicated user account and changing the SELinux of the account’s home folder was to be the workaround. Things like that are not so user-friendly and may explain why it is a Debian and Ubuntu derivative that I use every day instead.


There have been times when I found Fedora not to be as user-friendly as Ubuntu or Linux Mint, so I can understand the rationale for this project. It adds software for content consumption and production that would need added effort in Fedora itself, perhaps running into some eccentricities along the way.


This was another project that began after Red Hat changed the CentOS offering. It was started by CentOS founder Gregory Kurtzer and is overseen by the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation. Hovering in the background is a company that Kurtzer founded to provide support enterprise support, CIQ, itself a member of the Open Enterprise Linux Association (OpenELA) along with Oracle and SuSE. Until the reduction in availability of the RHEL source code, the claim of bug for bug compatibly held firm and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

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