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What Are the Differences Between the CentOS and Red Hat Linux Distributions?

What Are the Differences Between the CentOS and Red Hat Linux Distributions?

The term "Linux" generally refers to a complete operating system that is a combination of the Linux kernel and GNU software. Various Linux distributions became widely available by the mid-1990s. Popular distributions include Red Hat/CentOS/Scientific Linux, Fedora, SuSE/OpenSUSE, Debian and Ubuntu.

Linux distributions differ by:

  • How they are installed and configured
  • What software packages are included
  • What is pre-built in to the kernel
  • What support is provided/available
  • Licensing

The following table discusses the main differences between the Red Hat and CentOS distributions.

Red Hat CentOS
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercial Linux distribution intended for servers and workstations CentOS is essentially a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with the proprietary Red Hat components removed
Red Hat requires purchasing a license and registering the product to receive support and updates CentOS does not require purchasing a license for unrestricted access to updates
Red Hat is developed, maintained, and supported by Red Hat for its subscribers CentOS is developed, maintained, and supported by its users and contributors

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