I wish there was a straight answer somewhere to these questions.
Another thing that has come up recently with a customer is being told
that if they renew subscriptions for any of their RHEL servers, then
they must do them all. You can't pick and choose (say I only want
support on my 10 critical machines...)
even servers receiving updates through a satellite/update server.
even servers not receiving updates at all.
that is what red hat teaches in their training classes and that is my
if you do not want to purchase subscriptions, you have several options.
remove the red hat copyrighted packages
change operating systems--centos is one of several rhel-type
if you are certified by red hat, you risk losing your certification by not
complying with the licensing agreements.
if your company is asking you to push updates to servers not under
subscription, you are violating the contract with red hat and the terms of
your certification. that is, this is, at the least, an unethical request.
(i know managements asks sysadmins to do this frequently. it is wrong. i
don't do this.)
there are several levels of subscription and support.
there is/was a development license for servers that are actually development
the last that i heard, it was very inexpensive.
On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 10:31 AM, Ryan Lynch <ryan b lynch gmail com> wrote:
> In short: Does the Red Hat subscription agreement (link below) require a
> company to purchase Red Hat Network subscriptions for every single RH
> we have installed, even for machines that do not actually use the Red Hat
> Network for updates or any other purpose, and even for machines that are
> *never* updated by any means?
> * https://www.redhat.com/licenses/us.html >
> Before I go any further, I apologize if this list isn't the right place to
> ask these kinds of questions. If there's a more appropriate forum, I would
> appreciate a link in the right direction. For what it's worth, I already
> asked Red Hat's technical support and sales departments, but there is some
> question about their answers (see below). RH's sales and tech support reps
> gave me a few email addresses to query for further details, but I haven't
> received any reply, so far.
> Consider a hypothetical company that buys a boxed retail copy of RHEL 5 and
> uses the boxed media to install Red Hat EL on 100 servers. The company
> not want to apply any updates, nor does it want to receive tech support, so
> it declines to purchase any RHN subscriptions. None of those 100 servers
> ever receive RHN updates, ever again. Is this company subject to the Red
> Hat subscription agreement (linked above)? Are this company's actions
> legally acceptable, or does the company have an obligation to purchase 100
> subscriptions from Red Hat?
> I'll note two points, here: First, the boxed RHEL 5 copy has a
> license sticker that requires acceptance of the subscription agreement as a
> condition of purchase. Second, the subscription agreement seems to require
> that the company purchase a subscription for every RH system it *uses* (see
> section 5.1 "Reporting"), regardless if how many systems are actually
> subscribed to RHN or receiving RHN updates (directly or via a mirror). If
> am correct on both of these two points, it seems like the hypothetical
> company described above is legally obligated to purchase 100 RHN
> subscriptions that it will never actually use.
> Within my organization, there is some disagreement over how the
> agreement works. The disputed issues seem to boil down to:
> 1) Does Red Hat's subscription agreement apply to any system that has
> been installed from the RH ISOs? We can only obtain those ISOs via RHN or
> boxed retail copy, and both routes require us to accept the RHN subscriber
> agreement, so I believe the answer is "yes".
> 2) Does our acceptance of Red Hat's subscription agreement obligate us
> to purchase subscriptions for machines that do not actually subscribe to
> RHN? Even if we don't want any updates or support services, through any
> mechanism whatsoever (e. g., Satellite, Cobbler, Mrepo, etc.), I believe
> answer is, again, "yes".
> 3) Is the RHN subscription agreement legally enforceable, given clause
> 6 of the GPL: "You may not impose any further restrictions on the
> recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein." Does the GPL forbid
> Hat from imposing or enforcing the subscription agreement? Given clause 0,
> I believe the answer is, for the third time, "yes": "Activities other than
> copying, distribution, or modification are not covered by this License;
> are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted."
> In case issue #3 isn't clear, I have heard several people make the argument
> that because RHEL 5 is distributed under the GPL, Red Hat cannot impose an
> additional restriction on our company, via the subscription agreement, that
> requires us to purchase subscriptions for every RH machine that our company
> As I mentioned above, I did contact RH's support and sales departments, and
> I spoke with a rep from each. Both reps told me that the subscription
> agreement is legally enforceable (even given the GPL) and that it requires
> us to purchase subscriptions for every one of our RH systems (even those
> receiving updates). Several people won't accept these answers,
> insist that the RH reps are wrong, or have been misled by their managers
> about the GPL, or that I simply didn't explain myself clearly enough on the
> phone. (I have no idea why there is so much resistance to this
> concept--it's pretty striking.)
> Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter, and for helping us
> settle the issue--it's been a pretty heated debate, so far.
> Ryan B. Lynch
> ryan b lynch gmail com
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