FOSDEM: Enterprise Linux for all, thanks to Centos

Feb 09, 2009

Dag Wieers of Project Centos made a passionate plea for more private users to turn to the free Red Hat Enterprise clone, and stressed that commercial companies with non-critical machines could also benefit from Centos.

The foundation of his argument lies in the difference between a stable Enterprise Linux and a modifiable community version. "Everyone should use Enterprise Linux," said Wieers, "not just companies." The Centos project distribution stems from the GPL licensed source texts of Red Hat's Enterprise software.

Wieers explained that while private users who, for example, administer their friends and relatives PCs, are more interested in simple maintenance, this for Wieers does not require a constant updating of the distro. Further, other private users are not helped when a chic-looking distribution tempts them to take the Linux plunge, only to be overwhelmed by a complicated system and then return to Windows with technological tails between their legs. With, Centos, all would benefit from a stable RHEL package, said Wieers.

After his speech, Wieers went on to tell Linux Magazine Online that even commercial companies with non-critical machines do not necessarily need Red Hat support. He admitted that initially, relations with Red Hat were not the easiest. This has changed, he said, with Red Hat more laid back about users, both private and those with a limited corporate agenda, using Centos, with Red Hat concentrating on corporations and larger companies, and the Centos community providing support for their own users. Wieers added that in any case, firms running critical setups are better off with Red Hat support.

Dag Wieers is a consultant who, even before the creation of Fedora, developed Red Hat packages in his spare time. His reason for not joining Fedora, he told Linux Magazine, was a lack of enthusiasm for quick release cycles.

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