I never realized in depth the difference between a Linux subscription and a license. Linux is open source, so the software itself is for free. No license to use it is required. But when you buy a Linux support subscription, you are legally entitled to download the ISO images of the binary distribution, download bug fixes, raise bugs and get support from a distributor. Hmm… that sounds pretty much the same as a license. But… with a subscription you can switch to another, cheaper support provider for the same product. It’s quite the same as switching your energy-supplier to another company.
So why not change the subscription of Red Hat Linux to Oracle – without changing a bit of RHEL and no downtime involved. And save money, because the subscription of Oracle looks cheaper (!). The distribution of Oracle Linux is binary compatible with Red Hat Linux, and will provide the same updates and errata.
Is it really that simple to save money? Or are there important pitfalls? Is it worth investigating for Red Hat based datacenters? And … is a Red Hat Linux, maintained by Oracle still a Red Hat Linux, or do you call it Oracle Linux with RHEL compatible kernel? Lots of questions. Let’s take a closer look.