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Licensing Query - RHEL5/RHEL4

Posted on 2009-04-30
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Assuming that I do not have a current Red Hat Subscription, I want to install a RHEL5 Advanced Server for Production Use.

I skip the option of entering a Subscription Number during the installation phase and do not register my Server with Red Hat Website.

The disadvantage is I would not be able to update the Server to the Latest Security Updates made available by Red hat.

This article does not explain my specific query - http://kbase.redhat.com/faq/docs/DOC-15408

My query is "Whether my Installation of RHEL5 Advanced Server without using Subscription Number is legal and valid or its illegal as per the license agreements not to install RHEL5 without using Subscription Number in a Production Environment" ?
Question by:vmwarun - Arun
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 24270170
Read this one


i dont belived it iligal , but problem is, update

how will you update your server ??
LVL 19

Author Comment

by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24270259
Assuming that I do not want to update, my query is about legality of the installation.
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 24270289

We have Rhel5, and we are paying,

if you dont want to pay Redhat,
then why dont you use Centos ???

its the copy cat of Redhat ??

i understand about your enquery...
i will try to speak with my vendor see what they say ....

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LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 24270319
if you want you can read this one

LVL 19

Author Comment

by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24270651
I will be expecting your reply, fosiul01
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 24273873
Hi sorry,
i tryed to contact with my vendor, he was out of office. and my office is finished at 5 pm Uk time.
so i will have to speak with them tomorrow,
i will let you know by tomorrow 12 Pm Uk time
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 24274533
Easiest option is to install CentOS and have an up to date system with no legal hassles.
LVL 19

Author Comment

by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24276195
Thank you for the update,fosiul01
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 24277426
Ok spoke with Redhat today

According to the lady.

You can intall Rhel4 or 5 as many pc you want, but you would not able to get any update.

so its not illigal to run redhat without paying them,
she sent me a ligal doducment
if you  sent me an email to expertalert at gmail dot com

i could of sent you that document by email ...

i am not sure, if it good to attach that document here or not
LVL 29

Accepted Solution

fosiul01 earned 2000 total points
ID: 24277595
here is copy and past the email i got from them

To whom it may concern,

With reference to your query, please find below an explanation detailing Red Hat's Subscription Model, Red
Hat's policy on Subscriptions per Installed System and its conformity with the General Public License (GPL). We
have also included a statement on the permitted use of Red Hat's trademarks.
In order to obtain the Open Source Software under the GPL, our customers agree to a Red Hat software and
service subscription for every installed system. Direct customers agree to these subscription terms when signing
a Statement of Work or an Order Form. Those customers who purchase our subscription services through one of
our channel partners accept these terms and conditions either in the form of flow down terms provided by the
channel partner or when they register for their Red Hat Network (RHN) account. We have attached the latest
terms you have accepted as a pdf copy for your information. Section 3.1 of the agreement states that you will
pay for each unit. A unit for the product Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is defined as an installed system.
Therefore you have to pay the applicable subscription fee for each installed system of RHEL. Section 5.1 of the
agreement further states that you have to notify Red Hat if the actual number of units of software or services
utilised by you exceeds the number of units for which you have paid the applicable fees. The GPL makes this
possible as, although it allows for the free copying and distribution rights of a party's software, there is no
obligation on the party to distribute their software, licensed under the GPL, in the first place, if they do not wish to
do so. So our business model says we will give the end user the GPL'd operating system software, Red Hat
Enterprise Linux (RHEL), but only on the condition the end user agrees, as a precondition to delivery, to
subscribe to Red Hat Network for every machine on which the end user deploys the RHEL. The preamble of the
GPL clearly states that free software refers to freedom, not price: Our General Public Licenses are designed to
make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you
wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of
it in new free programs; and that you know you can use these things. So free refers free as in free speech,
not as in free beer). We use this subscription model for services because according to the GPL we can not
charge a license fee for the use of the software. This would limit the use of the software.
Our business model does not violate the GPL as a restriction on the use of RHEL. The RHEL code is
licensed under the GPL. End users are free to copy, modify and redistribute it to others without restriction. Our
sole purpose in counting the number of production servers on which the end user is running RHEL is as a
measurement of the amount of the subscription fee for the Red Hat service you agreed to pay as a precondition
to delivery. This is a mechanism to ensure per server subscriptions for RHEL, but again not a limitation on
content delivered. We have only included this sort of language (along with the audit language) to ensure that
customers who agreed to pay us a per server subscription for RHEL in order to obtain RHEL, abide by that
original bargain.
If a customer uses RHN to support more than one machine or takes the content delivered through
Red Hat Network and provides it to other parties (a services bureau), or simply has more installed systems than
subscriptions, we can nevertheless not take away their license to RHEL. It is fundamental to the GPL and our
subscription model that we can never take away a user's right to continue to use, modify, copy or redistribute
RHEL. However, at the same time, these actions do violate the RHN subscription, and we would have the right
to terminate the subscription services and seek such other remedies as are appropriate, such as seeking
monetary damages, for breach of the subscription terms. This in no way terminates that user's rights to continue
using the RHEL code. Therefore each installed system has to be under a subscription as long as you have one
active subscription and thus the subscription terms apply. Red Hat offers a variety of subscription types to
address different needs. While production subscriptions are paid per installed systems, developer subscriptions
are paid primarily per developer contact. There are also special pricing terms for backup and test test
We also hope you understand that we would not be able to run a business and offer a commercially reliable
product if we were to allow for our systems to be installed but only charge for a few subscriptions. Such a
business model would quickly drive us out of business.
With respect to using Red Hat's trademarks, if you are an individual or business (including all subsidiaries of
such business) and you only intend to use Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® personally or, in the case of a business,
internally, in the original form delivered by Red Hat (or its authorized distributors) or with modifications provided
by Red Hat, you have permission to apply Red Hat's trademarks to all such internal copies. We can not allow
other forms and modifications that were not authorized by Red Hat to be linked to Red Hat and therefore the
Red Hat trademarks have to be removed. Note that mere deletion of these files may corrupt the software.
Please note that without a subscription from Red Hat, only an original subscribed copy comes with support, and
use of those services to support unsubscribed copies is a breach of your subscription agreement. Of course, you
are always permitted to redistribute the code without utilizing Red Hat's trademark so long as you otherwise
comply with the GNU General Public License and Red Hat's Trademark Guidelines.
We hope that this explanation addresses your concerns on these subjects. If you have any further questions,
please do not hesitate to contact our Legal Department on +4989205071 - 235/218.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 24279158
You are free to use any version of Redhat you wish, if you want updates you need to pay for support, if you don't want updates then thats fine.

If you want a redhat based version of with updates use the free version (CentOS) which is based directly on the enterprise product but has free updates.
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 24282971
I certainly don't read it that way.

It specifically says:

"So our business model says we will give the end user the GPL'd operating system software, Red Hat
Enterprise Linux (RHEL), but *only* on the condition the end user agrees, as a precondition to delivery, to
subscribe to Red Hat Network for every machine on which the end user deploys the RHEL"

Which in plain English means that you must buy a subscription for every RHEL installation.

LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 24283005
I just read through the whole thing again and it is incredibly contradictory, and confusing.  No wonder so many people have trouble interpreting Redhat's position.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 24283478
No, I actually spoke to them, you are free to use it as you wish but you can only get updates is you pay for the subscription services.

I have confirmed this with RedHat directly and their training instructors.

You obviously have to question wether it is sensible to run a live server that is unsupported and has no updates.
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 24283520
I really wish Redhat would make that information 100% crystal clear.  I don't think any reasonable person reading through all that mumbo-jumbo would come away with no doubt in their mind that you it's absolutely legal to install and run RHEL on as many servers as you like without a subscription.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 24283655
I have to agree, the amount of questions that get posted about this on EE and other sites is unbelievable. I even had to put up with someone calling me a liar on EE about this very subject.


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