LowEndBox - Cheap VPS, Hosting and Dedicated Server Deals

IBM Kneecaps Alma Linux, Rocky Linux, and Other RHEL Clones

IBM Kneecaps RHEL ClonesIBM has taken off the gloves.

You may recall that in July 2019, IBM bought Red Hat for $34 billion.  A little over a year later, IBM gutted CentOS by moving it upstream of their flagship product, RedHat Enterprise Linux.  This meant that instead of CentOS being a 1:1 clone of RHEL, it was now a development playground (called “CentOS Stream”).  CentOS was no longer a clone of RHEL.

Faster than you could type “make all,” Alma Linux and Rocky Linux were born.  These two distros aim to be a 1:1 bug-compatible clone of RHEL.  They are “CentOS classic” and are downstream of RHEL.  This restored the world that people wanted: you can buy RHEL if you want support, or you can run Alma or Rocky if you want to run RHEL without support.

Everyone was happy.

Except the suits who paid $34 billion.

In a masterwork of obfuscating their true purpose, IBM has announced they are “furthering the evolution of CentOS Stream” (lol):

CentOS Stream will now be the sole repository for public RHEL-related source code releases. For Red Hat customers and partners, source code will remain available via the Red Hat Customer Portal.


We’re not publishing sources for RHEL any more so clones can’t compile them.

Or as Alma put it:

This change means that we, as builders of a RHEL clone, will now be responsible for following the licensing and agreements that are in place around Red Hat’s interfaces, in addition to following the licenses included in the software sources. Unfortunately the way we understand it today, Red Hat’s user interface agreements indicate that re-publishing sources acquired through the customer portal would be a violation of those agreements.




  1. Misfit:

    There’s really nothing to see here.
    This is free software 101 here.
    Free software does not mean free as in free beer..
    Red Hat is complying fully with the GPL and has given out free beer for decades.
    I might add that Red Hat and its ecosystem including Fedora and CentOS are, by far, the leading contributors to the Linux kernel.
    And now a huge swath of entitled crybabies want to complain that Rocky and Alma no longer have unfettered access to RHEL sources because the spigot has been turned off.
    Anyone who needs an enterprise class distribution is free to go build their own from legally obtained sources or use any of the innumerable other freely available distributions or solutions.

    June 30, 2023 @ 7:36 am | Reply
    • Baste:

      RHEL would be impossible without “free beer”. Though it might not be in violation of the letter of the law – a court case will have to decide that – it is certainly in violation of the spirit of GPL to prohibit people from redistributing source code. Ask yourself if Richard Stallman meant for GPL to allow this. The answer is obviously no. At best, IBM is leveraging a legal loophole. At worst, they’re violating the licensing agreement.

      June 30, 2023 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply

Some notes on commenting on LowEndBox:

  • Do not use LowEndBox for support issues. Go to your hosting provider and issue a ticket there. Coming here saying "my VPS is down, what do I do?!" will only have your comments removed.
  • Akismet is used for spam detection. Some comments may be held temporarily for manual approval.
  • Use <pre>...</pre> to quote the output from your terminal/console, or consider using a pastebin service.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *