RHEL and Ubuntu, what'll happen?

Topics: Red Hat Enterprise Linux going virtually closed source? Ubuntu immutable desktop option in future? My takes on the matters; with definitions

Did anyone ask for my takes? No. Will I give them? Absolutely. +=============+ Definitions:

“RHEL” and other capitalizations refers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

“SRC” and other capitalizations refers to the concept of “source code”.

“License” or “The License” and other capitalizations refers to the GNU GPL 3.0 +=============+

Topic 1: RHEL going closed source?

In a blog post by Red Hat, and the VP's follow-up blog post in response to backlash, it's clear that it isn't actually going closed source. However, one may argue that the license may still be violated in some way, as it could potentially violate the GPL's requirement for src to be available publicly in all forms.

Red Hat stated in the post that, A; CentOS Stream will now be the sole repository for public RHEL-related source code releases, and B; source code will remain available via the Red Hat Customer Portal for paying customers. What I take from this while also double checking the license, it states that no person(s) distributing software under the GPL can force you to pay to see the src.

By restricting part of the src to paying customers, this could be viewed as a violation of the license. This does not mean that Red Hat is so suddenly all evil and such, because in the VP's follow-up blog post, Red Hat VP Mike McGrath states; “We don’t simply take upstream packages and rebuild them. At Red Hat, thousands of people spend their time writing code to enable new features, fixing bugs, integrating different packages and then supporting that work for a long time – something that our customers and partners need.”

My take on this situation is that closing off a good amount of the src to only paying customers, if left unchecked or open-source somehow topples, could lead to disaster for Red Hat and RHEL users. While I don't see that happening anytime soon, some people are speculating that it may very well happen.


Immutable, snap-based Ubuntu desktop

In the near future, Ubuntu will have a snap-based immutable desktop environment for those who really want it. The goal is to be able to have a containerized system so everything can be updated automatically when they need to be.

Now this is just an idea for Ubuntu Core, as stated in the post, but part of an immutable desktop include:

1 Read-only: The primary characteristic of an immutable OS is that the running system cannot be directly modified by users or applications.

2 Atomic updates: Updates are applied atomically; meaning they’re successfully applied all at once or not at all.

3 Predictable: Because the core operating system doesn’t change, its behaviour is predictable across devices.

4 Isolated Applications: Applications are isolated from the core operating system and from each other, usually through containerisation. This ensures that changes made by an application don’t affect the core system or other applications.

While this does seem like a good idea, in my opinion it could have a few issues. For starters, what about things like a custom .bashrc? Will those be affected? Will the terminal be unable to access the .bashrc file? Also, some of the drawbacks are listed;

1 Reduced Flexibility: An immutable OS is less flexible than a traditional OS. Users cannot modify system files or customise their system to the same degree.

2 Limited Compatibility: Not all applications and services are compatible with the containerised or isolated environments provided by an immutable OS.

3 Storage Requirements: Update mechanisms often require image snapshot storage. Isolated applications can lead to redundancy in the storage of application dependencies.

4 Developer Experience: While containerised development environments provide benefits (such as improved isolation and reproducibility) they may also introduce additional complexity and limit the use of familiar tools and workflows.

For me, the reason I daily drive Linux is for flexibility. I want to have everything tweaked just how I like it. I don't want just one desktop environment, I want options. That is why I personally will not be using the immutable Ubuntu Core when it comes out, however I would recommend it for someone who is new to Linux but wants a windows-like experience, such as grandmas.


-Dusk 6/29/23


Cited for RHEL SRC Stuff: https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/furthering-evolution-centos-stream https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/red-hats-commitment-open-source-response-gitcentosorg-changes

Cited for Ubuntu stuff: https://ubuntu.com/blog/ubuntu-core-an-immutable-linux-desktop

GNU GPL 3.0 Cites: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#DoesTheGPLAllowRequireFee

Dusk Common handles: XDuskAshesReal, XDuskAshes (And various capitalizations) Working on a secret project :> Github | YouTube | Tumblr