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Is Oracle Linux a CentOS knockoff?

When Oracle announced recently that it was supporting its own Unbreakable Linux based on Red Hat’s RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), everyone assumed that, well, it was based on RHEL. That may not be the case.

A system integrator I know who looked at it thought that the new Oracle Linux looked much more like CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) than RHEL. It turns out he may be right.

In a recent Linux Planet story, Jacqueline Emigh, reports that CentOS’s own developers have found that “there is evidence that in places Oracle is a rebuild of CentOS, rather than of Red Hat — again as they are entitled [to] under the GPL. [But] it would be polite for Oracle to acknowledge the fact that they are derived from CentOS and make a donation to the project.”

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that donation, though, if I were those developers.

CentOS describes itself as “an Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor.” In other words, it’s a RHEL clone in its own right.

While close to RHEL, CentOS also adds its own small changes and tweaks to the popular business Linux.

CentOS was, until Oracle came along, the most well-known RHEL clone. It is used by Linux fans and by some businesses who are interested in cut-rate RHEL support and don’t require much in the way of documentation or product certification.

That said, The CentOS programmers also found, according to Emigh’s story, that Oracle Linux was “extremely buggy.” They do not see Oracle’s Linux offering succeeding on its own merits against RHEL and open-source derivatives.

From their viewpoint, Unbreakable Linux is all too breakable.

A version of this story first appeared in Linux-Watch.

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