Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor


CentOS site saying: New Look, New CentOS

Uh oh, we've reached Headline Word Wrappage on my new site design. I should have just titled it PNAELV.

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Since Red Hat Linux was split into Ret Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora last decade, those of us without the financial resources to purchase ongoing support used CentOS. FreeBSD remains my server OS of choice, but CentOS has been the most reliable, predictable Linux distribution I've ever used.

As of last year, it was billed as such:

CentOS is an Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor. CentOS conforms fully with the upstream vendor's redistribution policy and aims to be 100% binary compatible. (CentOS mainly changes packages to remove upstream vendor branding and artwork.) CentOS is free.

That first line became the worst kept secret in the Linux world. Everyone knew they were referring to RHEL; even the most oblivious system administrator would see the replacement "Red Hat" branding packages fly past in a yum update. Or favicons.

To the credit of the CentOS team, they performed their stated role admirably. With few exceptions, software and repos built for RHEL worked flawlessly. The OS allowed me to adopt the knowledge I was gaining in the Red Hat ecosystem from Fedora to a server OS, which was personally invaluable. I liked desktop Fedora, but was weary of deploying it as a server OS.

yum install officialness

Earlier this year, Red Hat surprised nerds everywhere with the announcement that they were "joining forces" with CentOS. Along with the commercially supported RHEL and leading edge Fedora, CentOS would become:

[..] a community-supported and produced Linux distribution that draws on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other open source technologies to provide a platform that's open to variation. CentOS provides a base for community adoption and integration of open source cloud, storage, network, and infrastructure technologies on a Red Hat-based platform.

The announcement was light on details, but suggested CentOS would be more than just a "free" version of RHEL. Instead, it would become an officially sanctioned base for specialisation, something the commercially supported RHEL with its consistent updates and standard environment couldn't easily be.

Personally, while I never thought CentOS would be going away any time soon, a small part of me breathed a sigh of relief at the announcement. While I'm well versed now in the Red Hat universe way of doing things, there was always the risk this "PNAELV" could change things up just enough to render CentOS impractical. Then where would we be?

On the other hand, that "Red Hat universe" may have kept CentOS safe. As conspiracy theorists stated with Windows piracy, Red Hat may have tolerated free CentOS users precisely because it kept them versed in their architecture. In this light, officially supporting CentOS would be the next logical step.

Okay, I'll bite

Why bring up this two month old story now? One, it was a draft I never got around to publishing. Secondly, new spiffy website, with a new tagline that made me beam from ear to ear. I never thought I'd see their Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor mentioned:

The CentOS Linux distribution is a stable, predictable, manageable and reproduceable [sic] platform derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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