> The original Red Hat Linux (RHL) was released in May 1995, making it one of the oldest distros, but the company killed it off after version 9 in 2003
It's hard to understand why, every time Red Hat improves their processes, the press describes it as Red Hat "killing off" a product. Looking back, does anyone actually miss RHL? Does anyone think that Fedora and RHEL aren't better products overall, or that they don't address different needs much better than RHL did? Were there any RHL users for whom Red Hat's products became *less* accessible?
> Fedora tends to be pretty bleeding-edge compared to most regular-release-cycle distros
Does it? That hasn't been my experience, personally, and as an organization, Fedora tries very hard to produce a reliable, problem-free distribution. Take it from project lead Matthew Miller:
> The new shiny that works in Fedora, when it ends up boring and stable, goes into RHEL
That's arguable. Red Hat tends to fork RHEL from a version of Fedora that's about 6 months old, but from my perspective, "boring" is still a way down the road. Features become "boring" during the RHEL lifecycle, not before it. (And "stable" happens before release in Fedora.)
> But it's still FOSS, meaning that RH is legally required to make the source code available. So anyone – not just customers – could download Red Hat's source code
That's actually not true. Red Hat isn't "legally required" to release any code other than that covered by the GPL, and they're only required to release that code to their customers, not to everyone.
The fact that they *do* release all of their code publicly is a mark of their commitment to the ideals of Free Software, not a legal requirement. They go well above and beyond the simple requirements of the licenses, and I think they deserve a great deal of recognition for that.
> Theoretically, if you didn't want to pay for lots of RHEL licences, you could pay for one copy, get official support for it, but run all your other boxes on CentOS, and save a packet. You only get official support for one copy, but all the same methods and tools work on all of them.
I've said this before, but:
Support-me-when-something-breaks is a very narrow definition of "support", and not the one that I think you'll find discussed among decision makers who select RHEL. Support isn't something that exists only during incidents, support is a relationship. It's periodic meetings with your account manager and engineers. It's discussing your plans and your pain points regularly, and getting direction from them. It's the opportunity to tell Red Hat what your needs and priorities are, and helping them make decisions about where to allocate their engineers time to address the real needs of their customers. It's setting the direction for the company that builds the system that sits underneath your technical operations. That kind of support is what makes RHEL a valuable offering.
> Presumably, it didn't tempt many CentOS Linux users to cross the Stream
I got exactly the opposite impression. Red Hat's partners decided that Stream was a better model, and they were focusing on that product.