Except for package management systems and environments, I would like to know what the main differences are between them .

  • 2
    i would like to clarify , are you asking about paid Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop and Ubuntu desktop or their server counterparts. Or about Fedora and Ubuntu in general.
    – atenz
    Aug 7 '12 at 11:02
  • Redhat and Ubuntu i want to know .
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Aug 7 '12 at 13:47
  • Editing the question after it got answered to ask for more information will make it go unnoticed. It's better to ask a new question as long as you can prove it won't be a duplicate of this one. But it would be even better (specially in this case) to start a bounty if you need require more information for your question.
    – Dan
    Aug 15 '12 at 7:52

There are a few different ways to interpret "Redhat" here:

  1. Red-hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) - A specific, commercial distribution by Red Hat.

    By far the biggest difference between Ubuntu and RHEL is the license terms - Red Hat Enterprise Linux is commercial.

    You can, however, get basically the same distribution, but without the commercial contract, for free in the form of the CentOS distribution.

  2. Distributions which are based on or inherit from Red Hat, which would also include CentOS and Fedora, and their derivatives.

    It's actually very hard to compare Ubuntu against all those (RHEL, CentOS and Fedora) as if they are one thing, because they are all very different in themselves. They do all share the same package manager as I talk about below, but the differences between them are greater than the difference between their package manager and Ubuntu's.

  3. RPM-based distributions in general - that is, distributions that use the Redhat Package Management system. This would expand your scope to include distributions like SUSE, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, and their derivatives.

    Ubuntu is based on Debian's package manager APT and DPKG. Red Hat, CentOS and Fedora are based on the Red Hat Linux package management system, RPM. Both package managers are now quite mature and have roughly equivalent features. You could debate individual design decisions though but it's hard to say that one overall is better than the other.


After many years using both, I can say that the real differences are:

  1. H/W vendor support for various server hardware subsystems like:

    • latest FiberChannel drivers
    • iSCSI offloading support
    • 10Gbps Ethernet
    • online firmware (BIOS, NMI) updaters
    • SCSI storage accelerators
    • Software SCSI drivers (like for HP B Series)
    • BMC (Baseboard Management Controllers) drivers/updaters
    • Live Controller/RAID configuration
    • Hardware health monitoring and reporting
    • GUI server management/monitoring
    • etc

All of the above exist for RedHat through vendor repos, (and in almost all cases can be installed in centos) but for the .deb based distributions (like Ubuntu) you're usually out of luck or in rare cases you get something old that that will waste your time and will often break your system.

  1. EPEL repo (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux): I've found that the EPEL repo (RedHat & CentOS) is not perfect but far more complete and updated than Ubuntu (official) repos, not so for desktop stuff but for server stuff. E.g. latest IPSEC packages, SaltStack, etc for which you would need to configure extra non-official repos in ubuntu.

  2. Software support (e.g. software/security updates, new kernel drivers). Ubuntu offers 5years, while RedHat offers 10years. This support includes security updates and in RedHat's case, backporting kernel modules from more recent kernels! That means newer hardware is supported even when using old redhat/centos kernels/distros. That hardware may be chipsets, watchdog drivers, etc.

5yr can be too binding for production use in my opinion (it can be fine for your laptop though where you can afford the time and risk to upgrade).


Main Difference is Ubuntu is based on Debian system. It uses .deb packages. While RHEL uses it own package system .rpm (red hat package manager ).

RHEL is free but it is charged for support (updates), when Ubuntu is totally free with support for desktop users only professional support is chargeable.


There are several points between these two to differentiate them. In easy words differences are:

  1. Ubuntu Desktop enterprise edition (Business Desktop Remix) is free to use but RedHat is not.
  2. Ubuntu focuses on Desktop users, in other hand Redhat main focus is Server platform.
  3. Red Hat is made by Red Hat Inc. is founded by Young and Ewing while Ubuntu is headed by Shuttleworth, owner of Canonical Ltd.
  4. Ubuntu is based on Debian (a very famous and stable Linux OS), but RedHat has nothing like this.
  5. Ubuntu package manager file extension is .deb (which uses other Debian based OS i.e. Linux Mint), whether RedHat package manager file extension is .rpm (which means RedHat Package Manager).
  • 1
    @Eliah Kagan Actually that will be Ubuntu Desktop enterprise edition. Please check the details here ubuntu.com/content/ubuntu-desktop-enterprise
    – tuxtu
    Aug 7 '12 at 10:47
  • I would bet that for Business Desktop Remix :)
    – atenz
    Aug 7 '12 at 10:59
  • @EliahKagan I have used Ubuntu Desktop enterprise edition not to create any confusion. Ubuntu has a special desktop edition for enterprise use. They named that edition as Business Desktop Remix. This edition is different from general Ubuntu edition. Please check out this ubuntu.com/business/desktop/remix.
    – tuxtu
    Aug 8 '12 at 3:49
  • 9
    "Ubuntu is based on Debian (a very famous and stable Linux OS), but Redhat has nothing like this." - couldn't be more wrong. RHEL/CentOS are based on Red Hat Linux, a very famous and stable Linux OS. Aug 27 '12 at 1:43
  • 5
    Also some confusion between executable files and package files - .deb and .rpm are packages. Aug 27 '12 at 1:44

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is not free, and its also used for business.Red Hat Linux, assembled by the company Red Hat, was a popular Linux based operating system. Red Hat Linux 1.0 was released on November 3, 1994. It was originally called “Red Hat Commercial Linux” It is the first Linux distribution to use the packaging system, the RPM Package Manager as its packaging format, and over time has served as the starting point for several other distributions, such as Mandriva Linux and Yellow Dog Linux.

Red Hat’s Features:

  • Red Hat Linux introduced a graphical installer called Anaconda, intended to be easy to use for novices, and which has since been
    adopted by some other Linux distributions.
  • It also introduced a built-in tool called Lokkit for configuring the firewall capabilities.
  • It uses .rpm package called Red Hat Package Manager.

RPM Package Manager (RPM) is a powerful command line driven package management system capable of installing, uninstalling, verifying, querying, and updating software packages.

Each software package consists of an archive of files along with information about the package like its version, a description, etc.

Ubuntu Ubuntu is an operating system, like windows. Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should “Just Work”, TM) and a commitment to security updates with 18 months of support for every release. Ubuntu ships with the latest Gnome release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD.

  • Ubuntu uses the.deb apt package:- Ubuntu uses .deb package for package installation as like .rpm of Red Hat.
  • Ubuntu also uses apt-get package installer to install packages by using command mode. To install package Graphically, synaptic package
  • Ubuntu is Debian based.1

1Source:The Magnet Blog

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