Red Hat has decided it’s no going to be Mr. Nice Linux anymore for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone makers such as Oracle and CentOS . Sure, in open-source, you share the code. That’s rule one. But, that doesn’t mean you need to make it easy for your rivals.
What Red Hat has done, for the last several months, is release its version of the Linux kernel with all its own patches incorporated into the RHEL code. Before that, pre-RHEL6, which was released in November 2010, Red Hat released the vanilla Linux code with its improvements and fixes in separate patches. This method made it very easy for an Oracle or another Linux distributor to see exactly what Red Had had done and thus made it easy for them to pick and choose which patches they’d adopt. Now, it’s much harder both to do this and to copycat RHEL.
As Joe Brockmeier aptly put it, “It’s sort of like asking someone for a recipe for the family’s chocolate chip cookies, and getting cookie batter instead.” Sure you can tease out what the ingredients are, but it’s not easy.