Linux.com

RHEL or CentOS?

Link to this post 15 May 09

However, in reality, I use CentOS all the time, whenever possible, b/c it is easier to reinstall it, update it, and use get additional software for it. And I don't support a Ginormous Corporation of end-users. or NORAD.

Have you ever expressed those reasons for using CentOS back to anyone at Red Hat, formally? Such as a support person, sales person, or sales engineer?

I ask because I find many people who are not CentOS users think folks use it because it is no-cost to them. In fact, when you talk with people, the no-cost is only one of the reasons.

If, when in a customer role, you tell Red Hat about the parts of CentOS that you prefer, and/or why you don't use RHEL in all those places, you may help influence Red Hat positively. :)

Regarding getting additional software, I presume you use the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository?

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL

The repos for EL4 and EL5 are full of thousands of community-supported packages of software that did not ship with the associated RHEL version. In some cases, RHEL updates have pulled packages from EPEL inclusion in the update. Very cool.

Link to this post 15 May 09

I have considered CentOS several times in the past as RHEL licenses cost quite a bit of $ each year and cost cutting has been the "in" thing business wise ever since the dotcom bust.

Still, we stick with paying RedHat for RHEL licenses each year, because:

a) Most of our deployments are on VMware ESX whose release notes on the Linux side are constantly focused on RHEL. Debugging issues can get very complicated in a private cloud, and we just can't afford the added confusion that might occur if we contacted VMware/Dell/Random Application Vendor and told them we were using CentOS rather than RedHat.

b) I've been disappointed many times in seeing very long wait times between when Redhat releases a patch/upgrade and when CentOS finally gets around to repackaging it. When a critical security patch is released, even an hour or two can be important for deployment.

c) While I honestly would prefer that my primary distribution be community based, I would expect the community to be innovating/etc. I'm not sure how I feel about centos basically just being a clone of redhat. Free is nice, but I feel better compensating RedHat for the value it provides.

d) Telephone/Email support from RedHat isn't really a factor. In the last 10 years, I might have had to open a ticket perhaps 3 times. Most other issues were handled without even going to the redhat website, although sometimes it is helpful to read or update bugzilla.

Link to this post 15 May 09

quaid wrote:

[quote]However, in reality, I use CentOS all the time, whenever possible, b/c it is easier to reinstall it, update it, and use get additional software for it. And I don't support a Ginormous Corporation of end-users. or NORAD.

Have you ever expressed those reasons for using CentOS back to anyone at Red Hat, formally? Such as a support person, sales person, or sales engineer?

I ask because I find many people who are not CentOS users think folks use it because it is no-cost to them. In fact, when you talk with people, the no-cost is only one of the reasons.

If, when in a customer role, you tell Red Hat about the parts of CentOS that you prefer, and/or why you don't use RHEL in all those places, you may help influence Red Hat positively. :)

Regarding getting additional software, I presume you use the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository?

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL

The repos for EL4 and EL5 are full of thousands of community-supported packages of software that did not ship with the associated RHEL version. In some cases, RHEL updates have pulled packages from EPEL inclusion in the update. Very cool.[/quote]

No, I haven't communicated my opinions with Red Hat. To be honest, the one single time I had a reason to interface with them, it was pretty unimpressive (on their part, I was spectacular, of course). But, yes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease...

I have actually missed the boat on EPEL until just earlier today (somebody mentioned it on another fine post at LINUX.COM). But I should have been more clear about what I mean about getting software. Often, I have a box that I'm supporting and I need a source or binary RPM. well, it is easy to get it off the net if it is CentOS. not so easy for RHEL, if i don't have the CD/DVD handy. or if i don't have a RHN login (which I often don't, b/c someone else has it and doesn't want to give it out and is out sick that day, etc.).

Also, I could swear that the CentOS distro itself comes with more packages that the RHEL equivalent, but I could be wrong on that point.

Link to this post 16 May 09

I use CentOS for my business. The fact of the matter is that Red Hat will sell support contracts for CentOS now on the same terms they sell support contracts for RHEL. Any software company that supports RHEL distributions, should NOT, in my opinion, be allowed to deny support for CentOS users.

Link to this post 16 May 09

I think the only difference is the paid support.

Link to this post 17 May 09

I use CentOS for my business. The fact of the matter is that Red Hat will sell support contracts for CentOS now on the same terms they sell support contracts for RHEL.

That's interesting, do you have a pointer/URL to that information?

Any software company that supports RHEL distributions, should NOT, in my opinion, be allowed to deny support for CentOS users.

Functionally, the software is the same, when it comes to you and I administering servers. But they are different binary packages. Red Hat has binary packages that are tested against hardware and software (hundreds? of vendors), and that is what is certified.

When doing a rebuild of the SRPMS, an Enterprise Linux rebuilt distro team could make changes when building the binary packages. That introduces doubt in a troubleshooting process. It makes it harder for a third-party vendor and a customer working through an IT issue.

It's not the fear of the unknown but rather the comfort with the known that is at the heart of why one cares about the source and process of binary RPMs.

It is that added complexity that makes it hard for a vendor to support non-Red Hat binary RPMs.

Another way to think of this is, if it were easy and desirable to support Enterprise Linux rebuilds, wouldn't there be multiple companies doing that on a large scale?

Who we are ?

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit consortium dedicated to the growth of Linux.

More About the foundation...

Frequent Questions

Join / Linux Training / Board