Today IBM announces, on IBM News Room, that it'll acquire Red Hat.

What will be the impact on Open Source products part like: CentOS, Ansible etc?

Does IBM gain the power to limit the “Scientific Linux” and “Oracle Linux” to use the RHEL source code?

Note: Saw the open source license versions impact on bash on Apple products (uses outdated bash 3.2 as the core).

  • 2
    No one can know the future. Oct 28 '18 at 22:24
  • Looking to improve the question based on “downvoting score” but without comments or flagging as “opinion based” makes me think, sarcastically, is the CEO’s of IBM and RHEL the ones that dislikes the “debate”.
    – n1tk
    Oct 29 '18 at 0:30
  • 2
    Stack Exchange isn't about debate, but about questions which can ideally be answered objectively. Oct 29 '18 at 0:39
  • Going back to the roots, is downvote present ? And in my comment put the “sarcastic” word for a meaning and the question, in my opinion is not a debate but how the license works in a similar case.
    – n1tk
    Oct 29 '18 at 0:45
  • 1
    "What will be the impact" is too vague. You could ask, for example, "can they close source all of the code" or something like that (that one is probably already asked and answered elsewhere though).
    – Brandin
    Oct 29 '18 at 5:48

Such an acquisition can't break the existing licenses of existing open-source projects.

IBM could, however, theoretically, decide that it will reduce, or even stop any investment in packaging and maintaining these upstream projects. But speculating on such things is premature at best, and unfounded at worst.


To qualify as a Free Software / Open Source licence, the licence must be irrevocable. However if they own a copyright, they can licence future versions of the software under a different licence. However third parties can also make changes to the software, under the original Free Software license, or any new Free Software License. Therefore if IBM decides to release future versions under a proprietary licence, then others will probably fork the project (if it is any good). Because this fork is still free, then it will probably be the dominant fork and the proprietary one will die. (IBM knows this, so probably wont do anything stupid, but who can tell what the future will be. )

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