Wednesday Jan 08, 2014

Oracle Linux: Free as in Speech AND Free as in Beer

One of the biggest benefits of Oracle Linux is that binaries, patches, errata, and source are always free. Even if you don’t have a support subscription, you can download and run exactly the same enterprise-grade distribution that is deployed in production by thousands of customers around the world. You can receive binaries and errata reliably and on schedule, and take advantage of the thousands of hours Oracle spends testing Oracle Linux every day. And, of course, Oracle Linux is completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so switching to Oracle Linux is easy.

CentOS is another Linux distribution that offers free binaries with Red Hat compatibility. Traditionally, CentOS has been used for Linux systems which do not require support in order to reduce or avoid expensive Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription costs. Recently, Red Hat announced it was “joining forces” with the CentOS project, hiring many the key CentOS developers, and “building a new CentOS.” This is a curious development given that the primary factors that have made CentOS popular are that it is free and Red Hat compatible.

It would be natural for existing CentOS users to wonder what Red Hat actually has in mind for the “new CentOS” when the FAQ accompanying the announcement states that Red Hat does not recommend CentOS for production deployment, is not recommending mixed CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments, will not support JBoss and other products on CentOS, and is not including CentOS in Red Hat’s developer offerings designed to create “applications for deployment into production environments.”

If Red Hat truly wished to satisfy the key requirements of most CentOS users, they would take a much simpler step: they would make Red Hat Enterprise Linux binaries, patches, and errata available for free download – just like Oracle already does.

Fortunately, no matter what future CentOS faces in Red Hat’s hands, Oracle Linux offers all users a single distribution for development, testing, and deployment, for free or with a paid support subscription. Oracle does not require customers to buy a subscription for every server running Oracle Linux (or any server running Oracle Linux). If a customer wants to pay for support for production systems only, that’s the customer's choice. The Oracle model is simple, economical, and well suited to environments with rapidly changing needs.

Oracle is focused on providing what we have since day one – a fast, reliable Linux distribution that is completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, coupled with enterprise class support, indemnity, and flexible support policies. If you are CentOS user, or a Red Hat user, why not download and try Oracle Linux today? You have nothing to lose – after all, it’s free!
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