Rocky Linux says to obtain RHEL source code via other methods due to paywall

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RHEL replacement Rocky Linux has shared more information about its strategy now that Red Hat has made its Enterprise Linux distro limited available. The developer claims to have found methods to bypass the RHEL paywall and still obtain the source code.

The Rocky Linux team says now to use multiple methods to get the source code of RHEL together. As an example, RL mentions that it can use UBI container images that are based on RHEL and available from multiple sources. According to Rocky Linux, Red Hat’s source codes can be obtained ‘reliably’ and ‘unhindered’.

Another method the distro says it uses is ‘public cloud instances’ with a pay-per-use model. This should make it possible to run RHEL images in the cloud and thus obtain the source codes. Unlike the first option, this process can also be automated.

Red Hat said last week that it makes RHEL no longer generally available, but only sells to Red Hat Enterprise customers. The reason for this is that other developers often use RHEL as a basis for their own distros that they then resell for a profit. The Rocky Linux team believes that this measure is “contrary to the spirit and purpose of open source.” Therefore, the company says it can obtain the RHEL binaries and source rpms through these two methods in a “legitimate manner” “without compromising our commitment to open source software or agreeing to restrictions that hinder our rights.”

The Rocky Linux project was set up in 2021 out of dissatisfaction with Red Hat’s direction. It stopped rebuilds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux at the end of 2020 and focused only on CentOS Stream. Besides RL, there are other distros, such as AlmaLinux, that use RHEL.

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