Practical Technology

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Red Hat Linux without the Red Hat


Red Hat is the number one Linux company on the planet by a wide margin. Their flagship distribution, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) is great and they have excellent technical support. That hasn’t stopped other companies from trying to ride on their coat-tails, and lately more businesses are adopting their Linux code-base and offering support for it.

Why would anyone want to do this? After all, Red Hat support doesn’t costs you an arm and a leg. The first developers who used Red Hat Linux as the foundation for their own distributions–CentOS, StartCom, and White Box Enterprise Linux–ended up creating distributions for people who were richer in Linux expertise than they were in money. Thus, historically, RHEL clone users tend to be old Linux pros who didn’t need much in the way of Red Hat hand-holding.

According to a report by Sean Michael Kerner, Red Hat isn’t worried about these users. Kerner quotes Red Hat’s Marco Bill-Peter, VP of Global Support Services as saying, “We are not actively chasing users of CentOS, but rather find that enterprises are naturally turning to Red Hat for the value of the Red Hat subscription model and support.”

That isn’t stopping other companies though from trying to horn in on Red Hat’s support business. On December 1st, OpenLogic, an enterprise open source software support company announced that it would sell low cost support packages for CentOS. OpenLogic also plans to will expand its support to other community Linux distributions in 2010.

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