Red Hat removes public access to RHEL source code - consequences for Fedora in the long run?


I’m very new to Fedora, coming here after 14 great years with Debian.

My enthusiam experienced dampening after reading that RHEL will no longer be available as source code: “CentOS Stream will now be the sole repository for public RHEL-related source code releases. For Red Hat customers and partners, source code will remain available via the Red Hat Customer Portal.”

Any insights into how this decision will play out long term?

My understanding is:

  • There’s lots of people working at Red Hat whose work is going into Fedora before it lands in RHEL.
  • The Fedora project has close relations with RHEL and Red Hat from work force over (obvisouly) structure and codebase to resources.

I perceive this decision to be hostile to FOSS and I don’t understand it - looking at Red Hat’s history.
Where do you think this will lead in the long run?


There’s a thread on this on the -devel list already, best to just go through that:

Here’s Matthew’s response:

(I think it’s just badly worded)


Short answer is: No consequences to Fedora, as Fedora is upstream to RHEL/CentOS Stream

Long Answer is the link with Matthew response in -devel mailing list.


There are a lot of panicked reactions flying around social media on this. RHEL source code certainly will still be available — including packages under permissive licenses where there is no technical or legal obligation.

Everything that goes in RHEL goes through CentOS Stream, and you can find all of the source code at centos-stream · GitLab. (Some embargoed security fixes and hardware enablement updates are released in RHEL first, but those go in Stream too.)[1]

You can also get source packages for your RHEL systems (either paid or through the 16-free-licenses-for-individuals program) through or by using yum/dnf from a subscribed RHEL system.

The change is that Red Hat is dropping a separate other process that expanded RHEL source RPMs and put them into another public git repository. To be fair, that means more effort to reconstruct something intended to be “bug for bug compatible” clone of RHEL. But all of the source is still available. My devel list post linked about elaborates, but Red Hat’s trend with CentOS Stream is to make RHEL more open and more transparent.

Of course, I’m saying this as a Red Hat employee, but I do not see any hostility to open source here, either technically or in spirit.

  1. There are some “z-stream” patches which are an exception, but this isn’t a change, as CentOS never followed those. And source for those is available to customers subscribing to those binary updates. ↩︎


Trying to summarize your opinion that I get from your reply here as well as your reply in the above link:

You see this change as basically: streamlining the procedure that gets things to flow from Fedora over CentOS Stream into RHEL?
And you perceive this to be the intention of Red Hat, too: To streamline operations, not to limit access?

Not sure if I got your view summarized somewhat ok, but that’s what I got after reading.

I’m hoping you’re right.
Surely I trust that your inside perspective is worth much more than anything I came across so far :).

Thanks for your answer

I agree that CentOS Stream is a great way to get the community involved and get true open-source collaboration going. With Rocky/Alma this contribution is not possible because it’s just copy/pasting, not contributing. But what Red Hat/IBM is now doing is making it harder for distro’s like Rocky/Alma. There is a clear need for those distributions. CentOS Stream is great, but there simply isn’t much support for. So it would’ve been great if there were still point releases for Stream so you’re never incompatible with the RHEL point releases.

From what I hear is that people are now exploring alternatives. Some are talking about Ubuntu and others about SLES. Even if this wouldn’t change anything for Rocky/Alma, people’s trust is damaged again. I don’t expect a blow in RHEL usage. But at some point if this continues, it may be.

And if it’s again wrongly communicated, then I would really like to see some more effort on that side. If the problem really is that Alma/Rocky can’t contribute, then why is the solution to make it harder to make community distros? Why not enable this community help better by opening up those Git repos?

Maybe this Reddit thread at r/redhat is helpful to understand the intention more.

well it was a huge turmoil, now tonight you finally can have a good sleep.

take your decision :slight_smile:

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As someone who is only tangentially interested in Enterprise Linux of any variety my only concern is the possible fallout created for Fedora from this change in direction by Red Hat.
I’ve been around Fedora long enough (15 years in August) to understand the dynamic that the relationship with Red Hat and Fedora being a community project sometimes has.
The negativity that’s brewing in the ethers of Social Media could have an impact on community engagement and the willingness to contribute time and effort to the Fedora Project, possibly more so on the EPEL side of things, given that these efforts eventually feed into the Red Hat commercial ecosystem.

What I’m absolutely not okay with, however, is how a few people are personally attacking individuals, such as Mike McGrath, at Red Hat as a result of these changes.
I also think it’s unreasonable to expect community members that are also Red Hat employees to speak out against their employers’ business decisions.


I use fedora 38, should i be worried? i really like it, so does anyone knows for sure will fedora continue to exist, since i red about some article that some contributors to fedora will leave it, and some other stuff that i didnt like…are those people fedora haters or it is a reality…like if red hat dies fedora will die with it too…i dont believe anything i read…ma opinion is if it is free that it dosent matter waht happens with red hat…i am confused now…some expirienced and professional opinion is needed here…i really dont want to use any other distro…

I don’t think “closed source” is accurate, but I’m by no means an expert. You may want to read through the links here.

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Thank you Bryan i got my answer…i feel reliefed


@fleckm, I found a YouTube video uploaded yesterday (really audio-only) of Mike McGrath responding to some of the concerns he created with his blog posts. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share. His part starts at the 20min mark…


This is a great listen, really gives solid perspective on the reason for the change.

I think people generally get their backs up in the open source community whenever larger companies make changes of any kind (some even spread FUD).

But it’s important to keep in mind that both Red Hat and IBM have historically been (and continue to be) excellent stewards of the open source and Linux community. Linux really wouldn’t be where it is today without either of them.

And the more I read about this change (and other’s reactions to it), the more I realize that it’s nothing anyone should be concerned about. Maddog did a nice writeup about it too:

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Thank You for that great link. What a pleasure to read.

I’ll add my two cents about Oracle’s history with Red Hat. In 2006 Oracle announced their own version of Red Hat, called Unbreakable Linux. Red Hat’s stock price dropped by about a quarter of its value. Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux never managed to gain a significant market share, and Red Hat’s stock price eventually recovered.