Well! This is quite a development. The CentOS group has announced that they have joined Red Hat. It will take some time to sort out exactly what that means. In short form and somewhat inaccurately, CentOS is/was a free (as in beer, as in speech) distribution of Linux built on the free (as in speech, not in beer) distribution of Red Hat. The Red Hat distribution was typically packaged up and only available as part of an annual support arrangement with Red Hat. The source is freely-available, and the CentOS group used that source, removing the proprietary Red Hat trademarks and logos, and distributed the source freely. Red Hat has been focused on delivering reliable enterprise-grade software, and hasn’t really be targeted to small- and medium-sized businesses such as mine nor my clients. CentOS has been my distro-of-choice for my servers for in-house development, on-site client services, and data-center-hosted services.
Now, the CentOS group has announced that they have “joined forces” with Red Hat. It will be interesting to see how this plays how, and how the roles of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Fedora distribution and CentOS plays out.
It hasn’t always been this way. I bought a box of RedHat (probably version 5.1) at Best Buy many years ago. Red Hat has tried reaching out to the smaller market before. There was also a developer/OEM program (I don’t recall the name) where individuals could obtain inexpensive copies of RHEL, less the support, for development and pilot testing. This is a new direction, and I look forward to seeing how it works out.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports on the announcements for ZDNet here.