wounded in the line of duty
I think you missed the point.
It is not about Canonical/Ubuntu stealing drivers. All of the stuff shipped is in the kernel. It is also not about Canonical/Ubuntu stealing patches, everything is open source. It is not unfair, they can do that. Red Hat has no lock-in like proprietary vendors.
It is just very inconvenient today for Canonical/Ubuntu to do the work and test with their own version of the kernel. They cannot afford to spend the money to do the work like Red Hat and Novell do.
Also, new installs with RHEL and CentOS don't take more than 5 minutes, I don't know what you are referring to. Applying updates and managing your systems is also a no-brainer with RHEL and CentOS. I can only conclude from your statements that you have litle or no experience with RHEL and CentOS.
And in fact, you won't get bug-fixes and enhancements in an *real* Enterprise distribution simply because enterprises do not want those being applied in production. You don't want to introduce new bugs when in production and only update in a very controlled fashion.
So only security fixes are available during a normal release, and maintenance releases every 6 months provide new hardware support, bug-fixes and feature enhancements.
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