Linux Notes: Enterprise Linux (EL)

  1. The information presented here is intended for educational use by qualified computer technologists.
  2. The information presented here is provided free of charge, as-is, with no warranty of any kind.
Edit: 2024-05-31

What is Enterprise Linux?

Let's ask Microsoft Copilot

Question: What is the difference between Enterprise Linux and so-called traditional Linux?

Answer: Certainly! Let’s explore the differences between Enterprise Linux and traditional Linux distributions:

  1. Enterprise Linux:

    • Developed by open-source companies such as Red Hat and SUSE.
    • Targeted for commercial markets, including businesses and academia.
    • Often available through subscription plans, although some distributions (like CentOS) are free.
    • Offers various editions for server, desktop, workstation, and management platforms.
    • Has a slower release cycle (typically 24-36 months) to maintain stable releases.
    • Provides technical support.
    • Notable enterprise Linux distributions include Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Oracle Linux, and CentOS.
  2. Traditional (Home/Personal) Linux:

In summary, Enterprise Linux focuses on stability, support, and commercial use, while traditional Linux distributions cater to individual users and offer more frequent updates. 😊🐧

Let's ask ChatGPT

Question: Explain how Enterprise Linux is different from so-called common Linux

Enterprise Linux and common Linux distributions differ primarily in their target audience, support models, release cycles, and package management systems.

  1. Target Audience:

    • Enterprise Linux: It's designed for business environments, emphasizing stability, reliability, and long-term support. Enterprises typically prioritize predictability and supportability over having the latest features.
    • Common Linux: These distributions cater to a broader audience, including hobbyists, developers, and enthusiasts. They often prioritize bleeding-edge features and community-driven development.
  2. Support Models:

    • Enterprise Linux: Typically comes with commercial support options provided by the distribution vendor. This includes assistance with installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and security updates. Support contracts often offer long-term support (e.g., 5-10 years) for each release.
    • Common Linux: Support is primarily community-driven, although some common distributions do offer paid support options. Community support can be excellent, but it may not offer the same level of responsiveness or accountability as commercial support.
  3. Release Cycles:

    • Enterprise Linux: Follows a slower, more conservative release cycle. Major updates are released at longer intervals, often every few years. This stability is crucial for enterprise environments, where frequent changes can disrupt operations.
    • Common Linux: Tends to have more frequent releases, with updates pushed out as soon as new features are ready. This rapid pace allows users to access the latest technologies but can also introduce instability or compatibility issues.
  4. Package Management:

    • Enterprise Linux: Typically uses a package management system tailored for stability and security, such as RPM (Red Hat Package Manager) or DEB (used by Debian and Ubuntu). These systems focus on ensuring dependencies are met and updates are applied smoothly without breaking existing configurations.
    • Common Linux: While many common distributions also use RPM or DEB, there's often more flexibility in terms of package sources and installation methods. Common Linux distributions may be more open to using bleeding-edge or third-party repositories, which can increase the risk of compatibility issues.
  5. Certifications and Standards:

    • Enterprise Linux: Often adheres to various certifications and standards required by industries such as finance, healthcare, and government. Compliance with these standards ensures that enterprise deployments meet regulatory requirements and security best practices.
    • Common Linux: While common distributions may also adhere to standards and certifications, the focus is often more on general-purpose computing rather than specific industry requirements.

In summary, Enterprise Linux is tailored for stability, security, and long-term support in professional environments, while common Linux distributions offer more flexibility and cater to a broader range of users, including hobbyists and enthusiasts.

A few additional details (from me)

Comparing three instances of httpd (2024-04-30)

  1. httpd is the Apache server
  2. EL7 means any Enterprise Linux instance with a major version of 7. Same with EL8 and EL9
  3. Many Linux installations will also include links to optional distributions. Here are two popular ones:
    • epel-release (extra packages for enterprise linux) - more popular
    • elrepo-release (enterprise linux repository) - less popular
<<< EL7 (CentOS-7 in this case) >>>

[neil@kawc4n ~]$ yum list installed httpd.x86_64 Installed Packages httpd.x86_64 2.4.6-99.el7.centos.1 @updates
Notes: patched 99 times -----++ ========================================================================
<<< EL8 (AlmaLinux-8 in this case) >>>
[neil@bfdc0d ~]$ yum list installed httpd.x86_64 Installed Packages httpd.x86_64 2.4.37-62.module_el8.9.0+3646+acd210d0 @appstream
Notes: patched 62 times ------++ ========================================================================
<<< EL9 (AlmaLinux-9 in this case) >>>
[neil@kawc3v ~]$ yum list installed httpd.x86_64 Installed Packages httpd.x86_64 2.4.57-5.el9 @appstream
Notes: patched 5 times -------+ ========================================================================

Do not jump to EL9 too soon


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Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.