Registered: Apr 2010
Location: Continental USA
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, RedHat, DSL, Puppy, CentOS, Knoppix, Mint-DE, Sparky, Vsido, tinycore, Q4OS
Back when Red Hat Linux started there was only one version. Red Hat. This was a free download, with support available, and ran from version 1.0 to version 9.x between about 1994 and 2002.
In 2002 RH released RH Advanced version, which became RHEL when in 2003 Red Hat split the family farm: creating Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora.
RHEL had all of the free stuff at Enterprise ready stable levels and was supported, and also had some special tools and features added for corporate, government, and enterprise use cases. Fedora was the free version, used for testing and development of packages used to advance the RHEL version, as well as supporting the large and supportive community that did not need commercial support and might want something a little more "cutting edge" than RHEL.
Fedora was and is adequate for a desktop machine that can be reloaded every few months to support the experimental scale release schedule, but that makes it terribly inconvenient for a server. A community driven and supported 'server' version based upon the RHEL sources was released as CentOS from the CentOS Group. This group and Red Hat cooperated in ensuring that the CentOS product contained no Red Hat proprietary notices or code, but was binary compatible with RHEL.
Recently RHEL aquired CentOS and the resources, and is continuing the project for that community that does not require RHEL support or the RHN, but want or needs to experiment with a very solid server product.
Naturally, this community being what it is, it is certain that CentOS and RHEL also work quite well on desktops, laptops, and nearly any device that happens to fall into our field of view. ;-)
Red Hat Linux is that first release series that culminated in version 9. RHEL is the supported version of Linux, released by Red Hat, that has been released and supported since then.
Red Hat Linux is now terribly old, dated, and not very secure due to the simple wages of time since there has been an update. RHEL is the current, safe, supported, stable, power version that is suitable for enterprise use. RHEL fills the need of those why need linux servers in current support. CentOS now fills the usage space that Red Hat Linux once filled for those who do not need support. Red Hat Linux is not a fondly remembered historical note, and no longer recommended for use.
In another sense, the difference is about $45 for a laptop, $450 for a server (per year), but I do not think that is what you mean.
Life is good, and just keeps getting better! In part, because of Red Hat, the company and people! Thank you guys!
Last edited by wpeckham; 04-04-2015 at 08:43 AM.
Reason: becase i type like seven monkeys...