… whether we use it or not!
The AlmaLinux OS Foundation continues to make license-compliant releases of a fully RHEL-Compatible Linux distribution within one or two days of RedHat’s releases. This (and indeed any independent downstream of RHEL) is actually good for everyone, including Red Hat. The most recent release, AlmaLinux 9.0, appeared within a week of the release of RHEL 9.
It validates Red Hat’s good faith
The AlmaLinux community validates that Red Hat’s product is indeed a true, forkable Open Source project and not a bad-faith hack like some other self-described open source products (for example, Forgerock, who appear to actively engineer their code to be unforkable by failing to document which parts are proprietary and which are just the CDDL-licensed Sun/Oracle code they took, and by failing to provide tools for debranding).
It provides those who need a self maintained Linux with something that has an off-ramp
Not everyone wants Red Hat’s subscription. Some Linux users – notably in the cloud hosting market – are happy to self-support and have the skills and resources to do so. They could base their work on Debian or another distribution, but as a RHEL downstream their customers retain a freedom of choice of support provider, including being free to switch to Red Hat at any time.
It creates an on-ramp for RHEL
Red Hat benefits from the growth of its adoption base, as users of downstream distributions can and do become customers.
It creates a no negotiation zone for innovative hacking
Some users need access to RHEL for skunkworks hacking that does not affect their licensing accounting under their Red Hat agreement.
This flexibility used to be included within Red Hat’s licensing universe but a hacker at a hedge fund on Wall Street ruined things for everyone by gaming Red Hat’s original trust in their customers and using a single licence to support an entire company. Red Hat was forced to reword its customer agreement to embrace all systems running RHEL.
- Disclosure: I am a director of the AlmaLinux OS Foundation and its founder CloudLinux is a client. This article represents my own opinion and is no way endored by either entity.