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 vendors redistribution policy and aims to be 100% binary compatible. (CentOS mainly changes packages to remove upstream vendor branding and artwork.)That "prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor" is, of course, Red Hat. The CentOS FAQs make the following points:
- CentOS-x is NOT Red Hat® Linux, it is NOT Fedora™ Core. It is NOT Red Hat® Enterprise Linux. It is NOT RHEL.
- CentOS-x does NOT contain Red Hat® Linux, Fedora™ Core, or Red Hat® Enterprise Linux.
- CentOS is built from publicly available open source SRPMS.
Now any Open Sourcers out there reading this may well be saying you just don't get it. And you know what? I don't. I write software for a living. If someone took my code, changed the logos, and then passed it off unchanged as their own, I would have some issues with that. But Open Source software isn't like that, right? It is a community effort, right? RHEL a community effort? The creation of those SRPMS files a community effort? I don't think so. (I'd better stop there, I'm starting sound like Lewis Black from the Daily Show...)
So I'm not going to use CentOS? Wrong! I'm definitely going to use CentOS. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. If Red Hat want to play in a world where software has no value, that's up to them.