More recently, Red Hat released the source to the 2.6.32 kernel as a single tarball. This was noticed by a member of the Debian kernel team, Maximilian Attems, who put it this way:
"The only real big bastard on the cool 2.6.32 'sync' is Red Hat. Red Hat Enterprise 6.0 is shipping the linux-2.6 2.6.32 in obfuscated form. They released their linux-2.6 as one big tarball clashing with the spirit of the GPL.
"One can only mildly guess from the changelog which patches get applied. This is in sharp contrast to any previous Red Hat release and has not yet generated the sharp and snide comments in press it deserves. Red Hat should really step back and not make such stupid management moves. Next to them even the semi-maintained Oracle 'Unbreakable' 2.6.32 branch looks better: It is git fetchable."
The Linux Weekly News pointed to this aspect of the Attems interview and it did draw a huge number of comments from its technical audience.
As LWN editor Jonathan Corbet put it: "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."
There has been speculation that one reason for the change is to make things difficult for Oracle to find out what patches Red Hat has applied to the kernel which it ships with its enterprise distribution.
One more thing that has happened recently is that Red Hat is now attaching additional conditions to the redistribution of its offerings.