Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux overview

Before you choose an open source system to integrate with your product suites, peruse this collection of excerpts from the book Fedora 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 Bible.

IT channel takeaway: Whether you're considering the integration of open source systems into your product offerings or you're helping customers weigh their options, this collection of book excerpts will offer you some basic information about Linux, Red Hat, Inc. and its product line.


Linux was a phenomenon waiting to happen. The computer industry suffered from a rift. In the 1980s and 1990s, people had to choose between inexpensive, market-driven PC operating systems from Microsoft and expensive, technology-driven operating systems such as Unix. Free software was being created all over the world, but lacked a common platform to rally around. Linux has become that common platform.

For several years, Red Hat Linux was the most popular commercial distribution of Linux. In 2003, Red Hat, Inc. changed the name of its distribution from Red Hat Linux to Fedora Core and moved its commercial efforts toward its Red Hat Enterprise Linux products. It then set up Fedora to be:

  • Sponsored by Red Hat
  • Supported by the Linux community
  • Inclusive of high-quality, cutting-edge open source technology
  • A proving ground for software slated for commercial Red Hat deployment and support

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, on the other hand, became the basis for Red Hat's fully supported product line, geared toward big companies with the need to set up and manage many Linux systems. After taking its software through about a year and a half of Fedora releases (about once every six to nine months), a commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product line is released that includes:

  • Subscription service to RHEL that includes stable, tested software (mostly the same software in Fedora Core that has gone through rigorous testing)
  • Multiple support programs, ranging from an online knowledge base to assistance with custom deployment, engineering, and software development
  • Official documentation, training, and certification programs

Fedora Core has, itself, become a respected and active Linux distribution that thousands of people use worldwide as a desktop, server or programming workstation. It is the best way to get the latest Linux software that is being built on a foundation for enterprise-quality systems. Using Fedora Core is a great way to get a head start learning the features of upcoming RHEL releases.

The editors of SearchStorageChannel.com have broken these tips and opinions in to indiviudal chapters as outlined below.

Chapter table of contents

This is an excerpt from Chapter 1, 'An Overview of Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux,' from the book Fedora 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 Bible by Christopher Negus and courtesy of Wiley.

This was first published in October 2006

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