[CentOS] CentOS for commercial use

Sun Apr 3 19:36:07 UTC 2005
Shawn M. Jones <smj at littleprojects.org>

Craig White wrote:

>I think asking this means that you have a lot to learn about GPL and
>various other F/OSS licenses and what distributions are.
>Red Hat contributes much to open source development but they have also
>come to being and fruition by their own exploitation (not meaning in a
>derogative way) of the open source software.
>Because it is open source, they are merely packaging that which is
>already available to them free of charge - restricted by the licenses of
>the software that they package.
>They are required to make the source code for their RHEL packages
>available in a manner that is prescribed by the various licensing
>restrictions of these packages and ultimately, they aren't really
>selling the software itself, but rather the support, maintenance,
>certification etc. for the software. 
>Thus if you wish to accept characterizations of others regarding the
>usage of RHEL packaging that is your choice but it would seem that you
>are getting what you paid for with something like CentOS - you don't get
>support or certification...only the open source software which is
>available for free in so many other packaged distributions.
>Just what 'major work' is it that Red Hat actually does?
Red Hat does the integration work of many different software packages.  
Ever done Linux From Scratch?  Some things just don't work without 
choosing versions and patching.

Red Hat selects versions and performs patching to ensure that everything 
works together.  From there they begin backporting security and bugfixes 
as well as supplying their own.  And, based on the changelogs for the 
kernel and other packages, many of the patches that Red Hat creates are 
passed upstream for all to benefit from.

Even though they may not write the initial F/OSS software that their 
distribution is based on, they do perform the testing and patching that 
is necessary for their distribution to function.  They also fund the 
security certifications and try to ensure some projects, like SELinux, 
get supported and implemented (I know of no other distro that has 
SELinux policies, however limited, already in place for general use).

So, I would say that Red Hat does perform 'major work'.  Is it as 
'major' as the work of the initial software developers?  That's 
debateable and quite immaterial.  Red Hat builds their work on the work 
of others.  CentOS builds its work on the work of Red Hat.  That's the 
open source way.  We all produce something more (sometimes even greater) 
with each addition and revision.