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Well just as the title states, id like to know what makes a Linux Distribution "Enterprise" compared to another Non-Enterprise Distros.

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1 Answer 1

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Two things:

  • Long term commercial support, underpinned with (legal) contracts. For an enterprise it is extremely important to be able to convince clients that in case of outage all precautions reasonably possible were taken to prevent or at least minimize impact. If not you will probably be held responsible for losses (which can be huge), if necessary ordered by court. Remember that in enterprise market the stakes are high and no-one will hesitate to bring in their lawyers. In the end, a client's only interest is its own share price, not yours as provider / hosting company.
  • Only proven technology in stable releases (often several stable releases behind current with back ported security patches).

And often: development tools (like header files and compilers) not installed by default. Those are for test/dev boxes, not for enterprise production.

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One missing: Long term support. RHEL is supported for up to 13 years where as Fedora about 1 year. Upgrading the OS on your mission-critical server is scary and requires QA time. Something you don't want to do very often. –  jordanm Dec 18 '12 at 21:12
Good point, let me adjust my answer with that. Many people do not realize Fedora is just RedHat's play yard, just like OpenSuse is a play yard for Novell's SLES/SLED. Ubuntu is trying to position its LTS-releases as enterprise grade and not doing a bad job as a newcomer in this market. –  jippie Dec 18 '12 at 21:15
Debian is trying to elongate their support-time as well. So this IS imho more important - so I would leave out "commercial" for this. –  Nils Dec 19 '12 at 22:38
@Nils Is Debian willing to capture mutual obligations and agreements in a legally binding contract for free (as in free beer)? –  jippie Dec 20 '12 at 7:15
@Erathiel I believe CentOS is largely similar to RHEL, it is even managed by Red Hat. So probably apart from proprietary management tooling in RHEL there is probably little difference. Another example: Oracle Linux used to be an exact copy of RHEL and still largely identical including the identifiers in /etc/issue and probably /etc/os-release (didn't check the latter one). Red Hat is not amused by the fact that Oracle is copying their efforts and selling premium support to former RH customers. So no, there is very little to nothing 'extra' special about enterprise readiness. –  jippie Apr 7 at 19:30

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