Why the OpenELA was created

Published on: May 1, 2024
Author: Wim Coekaerts

In the first blog post of this series, we shared Gregory Kurtzer’s introduction to OpenELA. He talked about the collaboration among CIQ, SUSE, and Oracle in forming the nonprofit as a commitment to building an open source base that brings longevity and stability to the entire enterprise Linux ecosystem.

In this second blog post and video, we hear from Wim Coekaerts, Executive Vice President of software development at Oracle. He shares why OpenELA was created to be a community-driven standard in the enterprise Linux ecosystem and how it ensures a stable and resilient future for both upstream and downstream communities to leverage enterprise Linux. 

Questions around the availability and future compatibility of CentOS and the limited availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) caused some disruption in the enterprise Linux ecosystem over the past couple of years. Wim shared the three different kinds of enterprise Linux users to consider when evaluating the impact of these changes.

The three founding companies of OpenELA decided to make the source code for the enterprise Linux distributions they create publicly available in a centralized repository. This way, users have a choice in which operating system they will use based on their unique needs, and they can feel confident that the source code, tools, and documentation will always remain freely available.

Wim made clear that not only is the source code in the OpenELA repository bug-for-bug compatible with RHEL, but it also includes bug fixes, security updates, and changelogs. It is a completely transparent model that can be tracked and used in a normal development environment and built upon.

“The OpenELA is like long-term insurance (for enterprise Linux code). This is not just temporary, not just for a certain version. No matter what happens elsewhere (in terms of restrictions), this will remain open, it will remain a base to depend on, and the contributions will always come back.” 

Wim discussed the advantages of joining OpenELA and the benefits this model brings. He also explored further the promise of open source.

You can watch the full interview with Wim here. Please check out the next blog in the series, featuring Alan Clark of SUSE sharing more about what lies ahead in the future for OpenELA.