I'm trying to get used to work with linux for a new job, where I will be using RHEL 5, but right now don't have $179 to buy the workstation version from Red Hat store.

What free distro would be the best for me to start with while I get the money for my RHEL license?

  • 1
    I would consider using Fedora, the free version. The ideas are the same, as it is the same company (RedHat) and should get you at least some experience with the operating system.
    – vgoff
    Nov 12, 2012 at 0:27

4 Answers 4


CentOS is a community-supported distribution that is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In practice it is almost identical to RHEL.

  • 1
    No, it isn't... CentOS aims at full binary compatibility, but it handles differently (one repository with everything, not segmented into "server", "workstation" and whatnot; no hassle with setting up access to the repositories).
    – vonbrand
    Jan 23, 2013 at 13:34
  • As I said, it's derived from RHEL and is almost identical in practice. That wouldn't preclude the differences in package repository handling.
    – Jodie C
    Feb 2, 2013 at 7:28

Another one will be Scientific Linux / wiki info.

Project started on 2004. Like CentOS, it is also base on Redhat Enterprise.


And now Oracle-Linux (old name: "Unbreakable Linux") has joined the list of "free" RedHat-clones as well. The most interesting feature is that there are ocfs2-rpms available for it from Oracle. Another interesting feature is ksplice.


A very good option for you would be try Fedora. It is Red Hat sponsored community project and is a testing field for almost all the software that ends up in RHEL.

have a look at this link


  • 8
    Unless he used a 7 year old version of Fedora, this may not translate very well to RHEL 5 knowledge.
    – jordanm
    Nov 11, 2012 at 5:13

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