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This may be a stupid question, but i gotta ask it

years ago, i used to use RedHat on a computer my uncle bought me. He bought a copy of RedHat, and a Brand New PC. He killed the windows on it, installed RedHat, and gave it to me. i used that computer for about a year, then switched back to windows.

Now that i’ve been running Linux for about a year or so now, I wonder. Since RedHat only makes money on people who pay for support. Do you have to pay for RedHat anymore? Or is it free for anyone?

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I think you are technically supposed to pay for a licence, (they do individual licenses.)

But they use the Fedora software, so it’s really better to use that.
It’s not exactly the same, and often stuff will be tried in Fedora, and not make it through to RHEL proper.

I’m sure RHEL people can let us know if you actually need a license / authentication to use RH, or just for the support


I’ve never used RHEL myself, just seen it in wendell’s Linux 101 on udemy, but he mentioned that to use it you need a license. But there are free licenses that are extended automatically with each release. The only “downside” with that is that you can’t stay on older versions because the license will run out, as opposed to a payed license where you have a contract for X years.

But for real-world usage I would advise you to just go with CentOS or Fedora instead, there’s really no benefit in going with “real” RHEL if you’re not paying for the support anyway.

No, not exactly. Fedora is sort of the development version. If you want to compare it to “free” Distros, then do so with CentOS. CentOS is RHEL with the trademark stuff removed.


There has been a free “Developer” License available since 2016! I’ve used it myself quite a bit.
As for RHEL clones, I’ve also found Oracle Linux is much quicker to release the point releases (Latest version of RHEL/Oracle is 8.1 while CentOS is still at 8.0)

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You have to pay for support and (iirc) that includes automatic updates.

If you do not want to pay for support, but want to run RHEL, this is what CentOS is for.

We run RHEL for a couple of applications here; we have support, but i don’t have anything to do with the payment for it.

Unless you’re running a business application on it, i’d suggest not running RHEL, especially if you want a desktop OS. It is WAY behind on things like kernel, driver support, etc. Which is fine if you want a stable, well tested server platform. If you want a performant desktop experience? Not so much.

Unless of course you need a third party vendor supported desktop platform for some enterprise Linux desktop software (yes, some of it does exist - industry specific stuff like Maptek Vulcan perhaps - there used to be a Unix version, not sure if it still exists - or MineGem). But in that case you’re honestly probably better off running the windows version - if one exists.

and yes there is a developer license. i grabbed one a while back but never got around to using it.

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Depending on how many years ago. Originally there was just Red Hat, and not the RHEL/Fedora split.

I cut my Linux teeth on Red hat 7. Downloaded over a 128kbps link and burnt onto half a dozen CD’s. The kernel was it’s own boatloader and would fit on a 3.5" floppy disk. Good times


Redhat 4.1 was my third distro :smiley:


So long as we’re taking a stroll down memory lane, Red Hat Linux 5 was my introduction to Linux. I bought the CDs from MicroCenter and they came with an awesome printed manual. Do you remember printed documentation?

Those were the days! :smiley:

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Yeah i bought a boxed copy of Redhat 5.0 as well.

My god how much breakage there was. IIRC it was the first major distro to ship glibc2, and so much of the linux environment broke with it.

Compiling ANYTHING from source on it for the first 3 months or so was a nightmare.

I remember this so much. I didn’t use it much for professional crap cause I was like 12, but even for basic internet use back in the day is was still buggy as hell. I was constantly trying to fix it I remember.

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