Oracle responds to RedHat obfuscation of kernel patches in RHEL 6

As I wrote earlier, starting with RHEL 6, RedHat stopped providing the source of a vanilla kernel and all their patches in different packages and now provides this all in one large tarball. According to RedHat’s VP of Worldwide Engineering, this was done to make it harder for downstream vendors like Oracle to incorporate RHEL’s changes into their own kernels. I came across this exchange between Wim Coekaerts (Oracle’s VP of Linux Engineering and manager of Oracle Linux, among other things) and open source enthusiast Matt Asay on twitter:
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Matt Asay (@mjasay)
2/28/11 2:28 PM
Red Hat obfuscates its source j.mp/ikzjMT Red Hat just made life harder for RHEL clones CentOS & OEL.Smart biz,but backlash coming?

Wim Coekaerts (@wimcoekaerts)
2/28/11 3:04 PM
@mjasay we like git bit.ly/eNG5SM it helps us and others. either way not sure the rht change actually matters, we help our customers

Matt Asay (@mjasay)
2/28/11 3:09 PM
@wimcoekaerts It seems that it would make it harder to grok where to apply patches

Wim Coekaerts (@wimcoekaerts)
2/28/11 3:26 PM
@mjasay sure but with a good team it doesn’t matter. I guess it means our bugfixes will be harder for them to apply 😉 not our problem tho.
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It doesn’t sound like Oracle is too concerned with the change, though I wonder how much of that is false bravado.

I especially like Wim’s “not sure the rht change actually matters, we help our customers”. If Wim is serious about helping Oracle’s customers, why is Database Smart Flash Cache and ksplice (just to name a few) limited to Oracle Linux?

One thought on “Oracle responds to RedHat obfuscation of kernel patches in RHEL 6

  1. Jay,

    We live in interesting times and my 2 cents on this whole issue around Oracle and Linux is that it will be a big mess that will sooner or later come to a boiling point between Red Hat, Oracle and customers. I predict in my crystal ball that Red Hat and other Linux distros may also come up with performance enhancement and online patching features to compete with Oracle.

    -Ben

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