February 28, 2011

Red Hat's "Obfuscated" Kernel Source

Several readers have pointed out this interview with Maximilian Attems, posted by Raphaël Hertzog. Therein, Maximilian states that, while the cross-distribution cooperation on the 2.6.32 kernel has been a great thing, Red Hat is making things harder by shipping its RHEL 6 kernel source as one big tarball, without breaking out the patches. Your editor has downloaded the 2.6.32-71.14.1.el6 source package and verified that this is the case.

One of the key points behind the RPM and Debian package formats is that source is shipped in its upstream form, with patches shipped separately and applied at build time. Red Hat has always followed this convention; the failure to do so with the RHEL 6 kernel is a new and discouraging change of behavior. Distribution in this form should satisfy the GPL, but it makes life hard for anybody else wanting to see what has been done with this kernel. Hopefully it is simply a mistake which will be corrected soon.

Read more at LWN
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