CentOS: Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Minus Red Hat
Getting Something For NothingUsers who want Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS3 without actually paying money for it have a number of options:
- Steal it
- Download and compile the source code
- Pretend to be an ace computer journalist and scam a "review" copy from Red Hat
- Find a free-beer distribution that compiles the sources for you, packages them into nice .isos for download, and gives them away
CentOS is a project of the cAosity Foundation, which is a non-profit devoted to producing "...enterprise-level, community-produced and managed Linux solutions." It includes pretty much everything you'll find in RHEL, minus Red Hat trademarks and any non-free packages. You too can re-package RHEL, just do like CentOS and go to ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/3/en/os/i386/SRPMS. Download the sources, compile them, and voila! Instant RHEL.
CentOS 3, the current incarnation, is the free-beer equivalent of RHEL AS3, which is the biggest baddest Red Hat edition, supporting up to 16 CPUs and 64GB of RAM; suitable for powering datacenters, mainframes, and mission-critical servers of all kinds.