Once upon a time (not so long ago) Red Hat Binary distribution used to free. Then they changed their business model, decided to charge for the binary and started of the fedora project where free Red Hat binary took off.
Soon after Red Hat, removed freely available Linux distribution from circulation and asked us to use and work on fedora if we want to avail a free binary and updates with short support and cutting edge stable technology. So many closes of RHEL came out. People wanted a free and stable environment to continue to run their applications in a self supported environment.
As per the licensing tem Red Hat continues to release the source while they stopped distributing the compiled version in free of charge. Red Hat Clones are build on the open source.
I always used is CentOS as an alternative to Red Hat. CentOS distribution has now become a de facto standard among the RHEL clones.
As a systems integrator I always try to keep my options open. I found the list of Red Hat clone goes on and on but some are prominent. However today I came across this article which made me aware that there are one other Red Hat clone (Scientific linux) worth checking out.
ClearOS: mainly focused for small organizations, providing them with a stable enterprise platform. They are more into gateway filters, like L7 classifiers and content filtering. They also have the latest community driven RHEL 6.2 equivalent release
Oracle Linux: This is a good well maintained free Red Hat clone. While they lets you download their binaries for free, if you want their network update support (for security patches and other updates) they charges you a nominal fees of around 100$, which I would say could be a very attractive options from a small business point of view. However it is not totally free
Scientific Linux: this is probably the most interesting alternative to CentOS. It is probably the name which sets it apart. The name Scientific Linux is actually a misnomer, in that it does not contain scientific software and was named instead for the labs that make it. The name has nothing to do with defining its nature. It is a true Red Hat enterprise linux clone, with the same goals as CentOS has.
The first official release was on May 10, 2004, starting with Red Hat 3.0.1 and the latest is 6.2 as I write. They historically they have been releasing within 3-6 months of the original Red Hat release, which is very promising. They also provide you with free repo. I surely would like to run it in my Citrex xen virtual environment in parallel to Red Hat linux and CentOS.
Tag: CentOS, Red Hat, Redhat, Oracle Linux, Enterprise Linux, Scientific Linux, ClearOS