wounded in the line of duty
1. Irrelevant, it is not supported for 7 years so people cannot run OpenSUSE 10.1 without having to upgrade.
2. RHEL as well, but also irrelevant because you do not get security updates. You cannot use that for a server or a desktop if your support (read: security updayes) runs out after 2 months.
3. We are not (only) talking about IT staff here. We are talking about students, home users, starting companies or my mom.
4. Yes, but it is shipped for free with CentOS. If you buy it from Red Hat you are buying support from Red Hat. The software is free. (speech and beer)
5. You are forced to upgrade OpenSUSE every 2 years (that is if you started using it as soon as it comes out. In real life people do not start using a product when it comes out, nor are they upgrading the moment support (read: security fixes) runs out.
So all the points you bring up are irrelevant to the discussion. CentOS has a 2+ million install-base (and that is not an estimate, reality is likely a multiplication of that number)
The fact that after installation your system does not need a forced upgrade for 7 years to have security updates is important in almost every scenario. Except if you want to run the latest and greatest you can opt in to upgrade to a newer release, but you do not have to.
Fedora, OpenSUSE and plain Ubuntu do not have that, only RHEL/CentOS, SLES and Ubuntu LTS offer that.
And only SLES does not have a free alternative and does not have an Open Source community. No free updates, no extra packages repository (OpenSUSE buildsystem could change this).
I am not against Fedora, OpenSUSE or plain Ubuntu. Clearly they have a userbase that is thriving and there are plenty people that want the latest and greatest. But an Enterprise Linux is not an exclusive need for companies, it is a need for everyone who just wants to use a computer and is not forced in a yearly upgrade path.
Mostly non-technical people.
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