Red Hat, CentOS or Oracle Linux !!!

08. April 2013 SysAdmin 0

This time the question is, should i use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or the Community ENTerprise OS (Cent OS) or the Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL).


Before comparing these 3 OS please note that Red Hat is the one who releases the OS. Since Red Hat makes it as Open Source, any one is free to download the Source code of the RHEL and they can recompile it after doing any modifications. So the base of OEL and CentOS is RHEL.

Lets see how these OS are developed.

RHEL – Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat is the leading commercial contributor to the Linux® kernel. The Open Source company, the Leader in Linux Distribution releases the Enterprise OS Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Each Kernel release is tested on different hardware platforms and it gets certified by different Hardware vendors.

Red Hat maintains relationships with thousands of software and hardware vendors to certify the performance of the business-critical applications on Red Hat and JBoss® software. You gain access to this ecosystem—one of the largest technology certification ecosystems in the world, with more than 4,000 product certifications to date and more being added every day. No derivative of Red Hat technology enjoys these certifications and third-party support.

Is RHEL is free ?

Yes but No, You can download and use the RHEL DVD on your servers. There is no issues, but you wont get any update for the OS !!!.

Why i need update : –  If any security issues or any comparability issues reported with the current Packages, Red Hat fixes the bug  and the patch get released in the RHN Red Hat Network. So if you have the subscription, You can always update the server from the RHN repository. No reboot is required.

There are different Subscription models for Red Hat, All subscription option includes RHN access. That means you can register the server with redhat for updates. If you choose the support option such as Phone support etc then you can call the Red Hat support if you have any issues with your server such as performance of bug with the server. As redhat promises, They never took more than 24 hrs to fix a reported bug. And its guarantee that each support person is an RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer).

CentOS – Community ENTerprise OS

CentOS is a derivative of RHEL, known as Community ENTerprise OS. When Red Hat releases an RHEL OS Version the same version is released under CentOS, There is no changes at all.


Red Hat always support CentOS as per the commitment to the Open Source community.  So you can trust CentOS.

Unlike RHEL, With CentOS, You have access to the CentOS repo, No Server registration is required for updates. Once a bug fix is released by redhat it will be available to CentOS also. You can simply update the OS  through yum to apply the patches just like in Red Hat.

What CentOS differs from RHEL

Lack of Support !!! , Yes there is no dedicated support for CentOS, but there is community for the support but you never guarantees that the fix will be available in say 24 hrs.

If you represent a small organization, and you are not running any Mission critical application on your servers, Then you can go for CentOS. Because small companies wont have budget for OS subscription and  also they need a stable OS.

OEL – Oracle Enterprise Linux

Oracle Enterprise Linux, As i said RHEL source code is free, So Oracle downloads the source code and they compile the OS with few changes and Releases the ULN (Unbreakable Linux Network)

Updates : Just like CentOS, Oracle is giving updates via their public yum server No registration is required to get these updates. You can use this just like CentOS. You have access to all the updates from that repository. (Wait, Keep in mind that this updates are provided by Red Hat first. Then when Red Hat makes it public, Oracle copies it to their Repository.)

Lets have a look at what are the modifications to OEL from RHEL.

Lets refer the Oracle Link about their product.

*“Oracle Linux with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is Oracle’s fully supported, tested, and certified Linux operating system for the enterprise. Oracle Linux is free to download, use, and distribute, and it is optimized to run Oracle hardware, databases, and middleware”*



Yes Oracle Claims, They optimized OEL for oracle products, But no details about what, where they optimized !!! . Amazing.

Now ULN, As Oracle wants to make money from this release, They do have different Subscription ranges,

It varies like, Only Repo acces, Repo access + Ticket Support, Repo access + Ticket + Telephonic Support.  So when you have a valid ULN subscription from Oracle, You can register the server with oracle network and you can see the registered server by logging in to your account.

What is EUK – Enterprise Unbreakable Kernel.

Unbreakable !!!  Just have a look at how RHEL is released. Yes “All the Linux Kernel versions are certified by different hardware vendors. Now !!! Oracle changed the kernel and name it as EUK. Now who certified this ? Which hardware vendor ?

As a Linux administrator, You have to explain How can you allow your organisation to run their servers on a kernel which was modified !!!! ???? Do you have any answer for this ?

Also when they OEL is running with a new kernel, Its clear that OEL is different from RHEL. So who you want to trust for an OS ? a Database giant an Operating System Giant?

And do you know that oracle relays on Red Hat for any bug fixes ???

Conclusion : Need my advice ?

– If you are a Small organization (Not a Bank, ISP or Ministry ) who cant spend money for the servers, Then go for CentOS.

You are using a clone of RHEL, You have the same updates as of  Worlds #1 Linux distribution RHEL.

– If your represent a large Organization with mission critical servers, or you are a Bank, ISP, Ministry or any other Government organization, Then never go for an alternative such as CentOS or OEL , Just go for Red Hat Enterprise Linux server and make your server life tension free.

You are using the world’s #1 Linux distribution with full support from the Vendor.

– Do you prefer OEL  ?

Never Ever – As a Linux administrator, I never want to use an OS, in which the kernel is modified by a team who is not at all professional in Linux OS making. Even if i purchase a support from Oracle,  Then if i had any issue, Oracle have always to depend on Red Hat to fix any critical OS bug.

You are using a clone of RHEL with a different kernel. ie Actually its far different from RHEL.

So, For Free updates and non mission critical-servers use CentOS, For OS updates from the vendor (Red Hat) use RHEL.

If you have any comments on this, Just drop it.

Thank You.

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