CentOS Enterprise Linux vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux
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A license Red Hat Enterprise Linux will allow you to contact them for technical support. With CentOS, you must rely on your own risk and skills, To resolve the troubles you may ask helps from their forum or other forums as LQ.
They make CentOS by downloading the source code of RHEL and compiling it. A very few programs in RHEL are not open source, so they are replaced by the nearest equivalent.
Red Hat are quite happy about the arrangement because
1. They get business from firms who have tried out Linux for free with CentOS before switching to a supported version.
2. They get bug fixes from the CentOS community.
RHEL, because it is the "real deal". Not to mention, buying RHEL is a nice way to say "thank you" to the talented people over at Red Hat.
Red Hat crews may be talented at enterprise server RHELs; but I don't think so about their supported Fedora distro.
As I worked with, Fedora (12) is really unstable and full of bugs. It could be really better for Red Hat team to make Fedora more stable than using it as their testing lab for RHEL!
CentOS miss one big feature of RHEL: RHN (RedHat Network) to manage your update and servers remotly from a Web interface anywhere in the world. This is probably one of the best RH technology, and no clone got it. There is an OpenSource version, but it never really bacame mainstream (even with RedHat themselves pushing it)
Fedora has been controlled by the community since half way through the development of FC6.
After the snowballing of bugs since the release of F7, RH hired more paid programmers than every before to work on Fedora "issues"(as if F10). Those issues are why RHEL 6 is two(?) years behind schedule, it was orignally scheduled to be based on F9 instead of F12. If RH did like you suggest they would lose users to Fedora(desktop mostly). At least with Centos they know that there is a 99% chance that the bugs are directly related.
Depending on how you look at it, they are the same or you are comparing apples to oranges. The only real difference being if you need paid support or not.