Ask The Expert: Your Questions Answered

In the past few months, Red Hat has announced some important changes to our product line. We've taken a few minutes to answer the most commonly asked questions below.

Q:  What happened to Red Hat Linux?

A few years ago there was just one Red Hat Linux. As acceptance grew and Linux reached further into enterprise computing, one product could no longer be all things to all people. The new, broader audience for Linux now had many distinct (and often conflicting) needs.

In 2002, Red Hat created what's now known as Red Hat Enterprise Linux to address the needs of those who demanded a stable, supported, and certified Linux operating system. In a year and a half, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become the corporate Linux standard.

The Fedora Project was introduced in late 2003 to address the needs of developers and high-tech enthusiasts using Linux in non-critical computing environments who wanted the latest technology early and often.

So why no product called "Red Hat Linux"? Simple. Over the years, Red Hat Linux has come to symbolize many things to many people. By calling either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or the Fedora Project "Red Hat Linux," expectations of at least one part of the audience for the old "Red Hat Linux" would no longer be met.

With Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Fedora Project, people can choose the right Linux based on how they use it. If you have not yet chosen for yourself, do so now at:

Q:  Does Red Hat still care about the desktop market?

Absolutely. The efficiency of the open source development model allows Linux to continue to make rapid advances in features and functionality important to desktop users. We have already witnessed mass adoption of Linux on technical workstations. Interest in Linux as a managed corporate desktop has never been higher. And the possibilities for Linux as a general desktop solution are greater than ever. Red Hat remains committed to working with the community to extend the value of open source software to all users.

Q:  Is Red Hat still committed to the open source community?

Red Hat is more committed than ever to open source and the community that makes it a thriving, innovative, and ultimately revolutionary idea. Both Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are released under the GPL.

Red Hat is also a commercial entity with a responsibility to meet shareholders' goals for sustained profitability. In fact, business stability is also a key requirement for enterprise customers when they make strategic choices about their long-term technology partners. Red Hat's business model balances our passion for open source with our responsibility to shareholders and customers.

Red Hat currently contributes to and hosts a number of free and open source software products, projects, standards bodies, foundations, and initiatives and will continue to do so in the future.

Q:  I need a low cost, supported server, what are my options?

Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES starts at $349/year. For this price, you get a reliable platform certified on the hardware and software you already use. Enterprise Linux ES also includes a subscription to Red Hat Network, providing maintenance and the latest security updates directly from Red Hat. Volume discounts are available.

Q:  Can I use Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS as a server?

Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS is the corporate desktop and technical workstation solution, and is not certified to run third party ISV server applications.

Network infrastructure services such as Backup, Directory, Authentication, DNS, and DHCP, and advanced firewalling with iptables are provided and supported only as part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES or AS.

Capabilities are included with WS to assist in the sharing of local data and resources with other machines on a network:

  • File Serving through NFS and Samba
  • Print serving with CUPS
  • Firewall for protection of local resources

Additional server technologies which are included in WS:

  • Apache for the development and testing of web servers
  • Mail serving (Sendmail/Postfix) for local sending and delivery of email.

Q:  Can I use Fedora as the solution for my server needs?

Fedora is for the developer or highly technical enthusiast who wants the latest technology early and often and is using Linux in non-critical computing environments.

We do not recommend using Fedora as a production server in managed environments where support options, maintenance, software/hardware certifications, and longer release cycles are valued.

If you are highly technical and are willing to invest significant time and development effort in monitoring community developments, mailing lists, resolving package dependencies and identifying and implementing security updates, then Fedora may be a valid option for you. Or, for $349, Enterprise Linux ES can can save you the trouble—allowing you to continue to focus on your business rather than the technology.

Because many of the new technologies in Fedora will eventually be incorporated in Enterprise Linux, you may want to consider installing both, so that you can try out new functionality in Fedora prior to its inclusion in a release of Enterprise Linux.

Q:  Why did Red Hat remove clustering from Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS?

Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS v. 2.1 included the required technologies and support for two node failover clustering. With the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux v. 3, we expanded the technical capabilities of the Red Hat Cluster Manager (up to eight nodes) and increased the deployment options. Red Hat Cluster Suite is now available on Enterprise Linux ES in addition to AS.

With these improvements, customers can now deploy clustering in even lower cost configurations choosing Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES as the operating platform for each cluster node.

For more information about Red Hat Cluster Suite, visit:

Q:  What is the Fedora Project?

The Fedora Project is a Red-Hat-sponsored and community-supported open source project geared toward developers and highly technical enthusiasts using Linux in non-critical environments. It is also a proving ground for new technology that may eventually make its way into Red Hat products and the open source code base. The goal of the Fedora Project is to work with the Linux community to build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from free software.

For more information about the Fedora Project:

Compare the Fedora Project to Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

Q:  Where can I download Fedora?

Information about downloading Fedora can be found at

Q:  Will Fedora be hosted on Red Hat Network?

There are no plans to host Fedora on Red Hat Network.

However, the Red Hat Network Up2Date client tool is included in Fedora. Up2Date has been optimized to work with Fedora and is now not only capable of pointing to update repositories on Red Hat FTP sites, but can be set up to point to other third-party repositories as well. This gives the user more functionality and update control.

The Up2Date applet is also available in Fedora. It allows users to be notified when updates are available from their defined repositories.

For users who want to learn more about using up2date, Red Hat recommends the command line interface commands "man up2date" or "up2date _help".

Q:  Where are the MySQL and PostgreSQL server packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux v. 3?

The MySQL and PostgreSQL server packages are available in the Extras Channel from Red Hat Network. In order to get to the Extras Channel, log into your Red Hat Network account and select the "Software" tab. In the Channel Name table, you will see a sub-channel called Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS/ES/WS (v. 3 arch) Extras. Once you select the Extras Channel, you can click on "Packages" to see a list of the packages available in this channel.

You can also get the packages using the Red Hat Network Update Agent. In order to do this, the system must be subscribed to the Extras Channel. Select the "Systems" tab and then choose the System you want to configure. Once you select the system, choose "Alter Channel Subscriptions," then check the box for the Extras Channel. Click the "Change Subscriptions" button to save these changes. You can now use the Update Agent to get the packages in the Extras Channel. From the system you can run up2date package_name where package_name is the RPM package name without the version number, i.e. mysql-server or rh-postgresql-server.