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Here come the RHEL 5 clones


If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Red Hat should be flattered. Less than two weeks after the company introduced RHEL 5 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5), StartCom Ltd. released the first RHEL 5 clone, StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-5.0.0.

StartCom announced on its website that it was launching “a release candidate of our upcoming StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-5.0.0 codenamed ‘Kishuf.’ We invite anybody interested to install this test release and help us find eventual problems in this distribution prior to its official release.”

Although the official release of AS-5, including the x86_64 architecture, is scheduled for for April 2, DVD ISO images of the release are already available for download on the company’s mirrors, here (direct link to ISO), here (direct link to ISO), and here (direct link to ISO).

Besides being installable from DVD, you can also install this distribution over the network or by USB-key.

Of course if you go with a cloned RHEL, while you get the code goodies, you don’t get Red Hat’s support. Various Red Hat clone distributions, such StartCom AS-5, CentOS, and White Box Enterprise Linux, are built from Red Hat’s source code, which is freely available at the Raleigh, NC company’s FTP site. The “cloned” versions alter or otherwise remove non-free packages within the RHEL distribution, or non-redistributable bits such as the Red Hat logo.

StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-5 is specifically positioned as a low-cost, server alternative to RHEL 5. This is typical of the RHEL clones.

These distributions, which usually don’t offer support options, are meant for expert Linux users who want Red Hat’s Linux distribution, but don’t feel the need for Red Hat’s support.

A version of this story was first published in Linux-Watch.

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