Many companies are building appliances these days. Whether they are virtual appliance (VMs) or physical appliances, they all have an embedded OS inside. Now, I have looked at many of them, in particular virtual appliances and a few things struck me as interesting :many had a random version of Linux included. Nothing bad about any of the distributions used at all, but just a hodgepodge of debian, fedora, opensuse, centos, etc... Almost all were marked "trial" or "demonstration"a number of these appliances had a known commercial version of Linux, were marked trial edition and had restrictions on use (use for 30 days and so on).
So what are some problems with these scenarios?
Well, first of all, even though there is absolutely nothing wrong at all with using community-based and community-maintained distributions (they do a great job), in a commercial setting, or when you build a product that lives on top of it, you need to have the ability to get formal support. Maybe not everyone needs this, but many companies do not have the knowledge (nor should they necessarily) to support the Linux distribution itself and they would want a reasonable formal service level for when something goes wrong, or when to expect something to get released.
Secondly, in the case of using a commercial Linux distribution, there are distribution restrictions and even access restrictions. Certain Linux distribution vendors that offer formal support subscriptions will not give you access to the binaries without a subscription for support services and they also do not let you re-distribute without special agreements or making lots of modifications (or even restrict modifications).
Enter Oracle Linux...
What do you get? freely downloadable ISO images for all the releases and major updates (Oracle Linux 4(4.4, 4.5, 4.6,4.7,4.8), Oracle Linux 5(5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7,5.8),Oracle Linux 6 (6.1, 6.2)). Both source code and binaries.No support subscription needed to download freely re-distributable Both source code and binaries (no contract or support subscription needed to re-distribute, including logos and trademarks) freely available bugfix errata and security errata, released at same time as we release them to customers with support subscriptions Both source code and binaries. In other words, every RPM released through a free public yum repository the ability to purchase a support subscription for what you build, ship, support to your customers without any change to your appliance. No need to have a trial version or demo version using a community-edition Linux and a production version based on a commercial-edition Linux use it in production, go for it, whatever the use case is, use it, if you want support, get a support subscription, if you don't need support, that's fine. the ability to have a support subscription that offers on-line zero-downtime, rebootless security and bugfix updates as part of Oracle Linux Premier support with Oracle Ksplice technology if you run with Centos or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, just replace the rpm list with the Oracle Linux RPMs and you're done.. so easy to switch heavily tested on the biggest servers and biggest IO intensive, process intensive and network intensive workloads out there do this for installs on physical servers, for Virtual Machines (whether this be Oracle VM Virtual Appliances, VMWare Virtual Appliances or something else, it doesn't matter)
One Enterprise Linux distribution, for all of the above. We make it easy for you. Grab the code, binaries and source, use it, distribute it, build your environments with it, freely, no contracts needed. Need our help, get a support subscription. Choice, open. Virtual, physical, cloud. Not just obfuscated tar balls. No license or activation key, good consistent SLAs for releasing security updates, well tested,... Run Oracle Linux in-house in test and development environments, run it in production environments, use it for customer systems, distribute it, any or all of the above. One distribution that you can manage across all the use cases. No need to manage different versions even if they're similar, no need to make different distribution choices based on your use case and pay/not pay.