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Red Hat Linux was a Linux distribution, a GNU/Linux based operating system, developed by the Red Hat company from 1995 to 2004, one year after the birth of the two successors: Red Hat Enterprise Linux oriented to the needs of companies and equipped commercial support, and Fedora with the latest software and developed by the volunteer community. The renowned RPM packet manager, adopted by several distributions such as Suse and Mandriva, was specially developed for Red Hat Linux and originally named Red Hat Package Manager.


The first release of Red Hat was released on November 3, 1994 with an announcement on the "comp.os.linux.announce" newsgroup.

After 2004, it was developed as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (often abbreviated RHEL), renumbering 3 versions.

The latest version of Red Hat is Shrike's version 9, March 31, 2003, which corresponds to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. It should be noted that there has never been a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 1, while in March 2002 Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 was released for Red Hat 7.2.


Red Hat was the first distribution to use the RPM format as a package management system. Over time it served as a starting point for many other distributions.

The main novelties of the Red Hat distribution are two:

  1. The most important is the marketing of the product which represented the possibility of spreading the software red hat to other recipients that had not been considered before.
  2. It is about the structure of distribution updates. Marc Ewing explains the same "inventor": "Before the appearance of Red Hat, no one ever thought about updating any new GNU/Linux distribution; every time you had to reinstall and it was a major drawback. Incremental updating of the machine was also a difficult task. "