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"We Are Not Proprietary," Protests Red Hat - Torvalds Agrees

Is it fair to characterize Red Hat, which even Linus Torvalds agrees "has their own vendor kernel," as proprietary?

Is it fair to characterize Red Hat, which even Linus Torvalds agrees "has their own vendor kernel,"  as proprietary?

Torvalds, quoted in an interview yesterday, thinks not. But Sun's new president and COO, Jonathan Schwartz, does not agree. He repeated yesterday the charges he has made before, namely that Red Hat has "forked" Linux on the server side.

"There is a fork in the Linux world: Red Hat and the others," the same interview quotes Schwartz as having said. "Red Hat has pretty much forked the distribution. This has given Red Hat tremendous gains for now, but ultimately it's an impediment in the growth of Linux."

Noting that a number of the top Linux kernel contributors are Red Hat employees, Torvalds declared that RH is "not proprietary." And RH spokesman Leigh Day was adamant:

"We are fully committed to open source and our code reflects that. Red Hat has no proprietary software built in our distribution. Our core strategy is built on open source and we will not deviate from that strategy."

Why did this whole subject come up? The usual reason - Schwartz was asked whether Sun is still open to developing an open-source version of Java, as invited to do - for example - by IBM. Here's how the report described Schwartz's response:

"After observing that open-sourcing Java under the GNU General Public License (GPL) 'is not off the table,' [Schwartz] added that one problem Sun has with the GPL is that it encourages forking. He pointed to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as an example."

 

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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