Responding to Red Hat’s recent changes to Linux source availability, Suse, Oracle, and CIQ have partnered to form a trade association to encourage the development of Linux distributions compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The companies on August 10 announced their intent to form the Open Enterprise Linux Association, or OpenELA. CIQ, Oracle, and Suse are collaborating to deliver source code, tools, and systems through the organization. “With OpenELA, CIQ, Oracle, and Suse join forces with the open source community to ensure a stable and resilient future for both upstream and downstream communities to leverage Enterprise Linux,” said CIQ CEO Gregory Kurtzer in a prepared statement.

Red Hat caused a stir when it announced the end of life of CentOS 7 Linux, a free RHEL-compatible Linux distribution. The move was viewed as ending the free lunch for RHEL clones. But starting later this year, OpenELA will provide the source code “necessary for RHEL-compatible downstreams to exist,” the alliance announced, with the initial focus on RHEL 8, RHEL 9, and possibly RHEL 7. The companies committed to ensuring the continued availability of OpenELA sources to the community indefinitely.

OpenELA core tenets include full compliance with the existing RHEL standard, swift updates, secure fixes, transparency, community, and ensuring resources remain free and redistributable. The organization said founding principles include open source, independence, neutrality, and community governance. Interested persons can participate in OpenELA by signing up on the project website.

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