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Parasites? They're just embracing the magic of the GPL.
Red Hat does most the work and everyone downstream is guaranteed a free clone.
Nothing has stopped Red Hat from forking a BSD and creating their own proprietary Unix. However they decided to embrace the GPL and CENT is the result.
So is Unbreakable Linux which is very easy to switch to and can offer big savings over Red Hat.
There are a lot of business people in Red Hat that hate the fact that CentOS exists. They just don't get it. The developers there I have talked to do understand.
1. While Red Hat writes A LOT of software, they dont write it all. You have to give to get.
2. The people using CentOS are the same people working on Fedora, which is mostly done by volunteers. It would be kind of two-faced for Red Hat to accept all the free help they get with regards to Fedora, and slap the hand of the CentOS users.
That is not true. Red Hat folks don't hate CentOS, and they very well get that is better for them when people use CentOS then when they use something which is not derived from RHEL. (Like WIndows for example). I think you misunderstood Red Hat "Business people". Red Hat refuse to talk about CentOS in public and that is from obvious reasons: They don't want customers to hear about CentOS from them. If they want free clone, they can get it, but they don't want to make confusion that Red Hat in any way, shape or form support or endorse CentOS.
1. Red Hat is already giving away everything. All products they distribute to customers are open source under GPL or GPL-compatible license. (with exception of RHEV-M which Qumranet wrote in C#, so Red Hat is redoing it in Java, and then they will open source it). So practically every RH product can be Cented.
2. That would be two-faced, but they are not doing it. They are not doing anything that could undermine CentOS. They could stop giving SRPMS freely and let only subscribers have them (they can do that under GPL). That would force CentOS devs to buy one RHEL Advanced Platfrom subscription so they can get source. But that is petty and it would be shooting it the foot, so Red Hat is not doing it. Red Hat could stop making easily rebuildable SRPMS at all, and start giving only tarbals with source. That would take even more time for CentOS to put up releases. But they are not doing that either.
Red Hat does not hate CentOS. They are just don't supporting it and don't want to be associated with it, and why should they?