CentOS continues to assert itself as a strong but free equivalent to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with the release of CentOS 4.6 on December 16, 2007. CentOS distributions are spaced approximately 1 month later than the RHEL equivalent (RHEL 4.6 was released on November 15, 2007.) While this update of the 4.x series is new, both RHEL and CentOS concurrently release updates to the 5.x series as well. CentOS 5.1 and RHEL 5.1 were released in early December, indicating concurrent development for the 4.x and 5.x products simultaneously. The4.x and 5.x releases are different in that the 4.6 releases do not update all the modules as far in advance as their 5.1 counterparts.
Under the Hood
CentOS 4.6 is modeling RHEL 4.6 in all major categories, such as kernel, bind, gcc, mysql and perl. A few differences in package version details can be found, with CentOS 4.6 being slightly newer (e.g. evolution package). The upgrade is available as a new install from downloadable .ISO images or a yum-based upgrade described in the release notes. RHEL 4.6′s release notes are located here for i386 and x64 platforms.
RHEL Version Matching
With CentOS keeping compatability in parallel with RHEL, enterprises are provided a free development environment for new concept systems for enterprise Linux distributions. The two platforms offer a benefit of having one for testing and quality assurance purposes that can be provided in situations where an operating system environment may be the potential for the issue. The Microsoft world cannot offer this, but it is quite common in mission critical systems where a totally different platform (and possibly the program and code) are ported to fully meet operational requirements with nothing in common among member systems.
CentOS continues to assert itself as a strong selection for its RHEL compatability, minus the commercial support.