July 5 2023

Suse has his say on Red Hat's shutdown of RHEL sources

How does Thomas Di Giacomo, CEO of Suse Linux think about the closure of RHEL sources and how will he face the future?


SUSE, the German open-source technology company, has finally given its take on the recent Red Hat decisions regarding Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) sources and the future of its role in the open-source landscape. SUSE's stance was eagerly awaited given its historic rivalry with Red Hat.

While the two companies are often considered direct competitors in the open-source industry, a financial overview shows a significant gap between the two. In 2022, Red Hat had revenues of $3,5 billion, while SUSE reached $653 million. However, regardless of the revenue gap, both companies' voice and authority remain influential in the open-source community.

SUSE's reaction came following Red Hat's announcement that it was suspending publication of RHEL RPM sources on git.centos.org. SUSE CTO Thomas Di Giacomo expressed the company's position in a post titled “Navigating Changes in the Open Source Landscape".

Di Giacomo's statement reiterates the importance of collaboration and interdependence in the open-source world, highlighting how the existence of RHEL is due to the joint efforts of several projects, including the Linux kernel developed by SUSE among others. This emphasis on interdependence appears to be a direct response to the community's criticism of Red Hat for its decision to limit source downloads to customers only.

RHEL's existence owes much to the collaborative efforts of many upstream projects, including the Linux kernel developed by many different contributors, among them SUSE. At the center of our world is innovating together. We are all working to build something greater than the sum of all our parts. We are all interdependent.

RHEL's existence owes much to the collaborative efforts of many upstream projects, including the Linux kernel developed by many different contributors, including SUSE. At the heart of our world is common innovation. We are all working to build something greater than the sum of all our parts. We are all interdependent.

SUSE's post also includes a strong mission statement that emphasizes the importance of keeping the freedom to access, modify, and distribute software open. Additionally, SUSE is committed to continuing to invest in building a robust support infrastructure, providing timely updates, and delivering a high-quality user experience to its community of users and customers.

In parallel, SUSE also promoted SUSE Liberty, its product dedicated to managing mixed Linux environments. This move adds to recent statements by AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, which are working independently to resolve the issues raised by Red Hat's decision.

The Linux world, despite being an open-source ecosystem, is not free from forms of vendor lock-in, especially when it comes to corporate support contracts. This forced blocking of suppliers can limit the freedom of companies to choose and switch technology suppliers, which can be problematic.

To combat these challenges, SUSE, a longtime player in the Linux landscape, has announced the launch of Liberty Linux. This new service, designed primarily for businesses, offers support for a number of different Linux distributions. In addition to covering its own distributions, namely SUSE Enterprise Linux and openSUSE, Liberty Linux also extends its support to distributions not developed by SUSE. This includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, making Liberty Linux a multi-distribution support service.

Liberty Linux represents a highly valuable resource for companies that need reliable support for their Linux-based operations. This not only broadens the field of support options, but also allows companies to not be locked into a single distribution or vendor.

An important aspect of Liberty Linux is the inclusion of security patches for all supported distributions. In today's IT landscape, where security threats are constantly evolving, maintaining a secure environment is of paramount importance. Therefore, providing timely and reliable security patches can help improve the overall security of a company's Linux infrastructure.

In addition to security patches, Liberty Linux also includes SUSE Manager, a highly functional infrastructure management system. This tool offers the ability to automate and centrally manage a number of essential operations. For example, you can perform system reboots, install patches, make configuration changes, and create system images. This feature helps simplify and streamline the management of Linux resources within an organization.

For its part, Red Hat seems to continue as if nothing had happened, providing standard contributions such as reflections on Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation (IBRS) and extending support for RHEL 7 by four years, due to the delay of many companies in updates to the new versions. However, no further statements regarding the RHEL source matter have been released, suggesting that the company's strategy may be to let the situation calm down and give time.

In the current uncertain climate, it seems like this might be the most sensible decision for Red Hat. However, the open-source community looks forward to further developments in this ever-evolving saga.

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