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I've issued yum upgrade in my centos 4.8 box but after upgradation finished, it shows

cat redhat-release
Centos 4.8(final)
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What you really want to look at is /etc/issue:

$ cat /etc/issue
CentOS release 4.8 (Final)
Kernel \r on an \m

That's owned by the centos-release rpm:

$ rpm -qf /etc/issue

$ rpm -qi centos-release
Name        : centos-release               Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version     : 4                                 Vendor: CentOS
Release     : 8                             Build Date: Wed 08 Jul 2009 01:20:24 AM PDT
Install Date: Sun 20 Sep 2009 11:39:41 AM PDT      Build Host:
Group       : System Environment/Base       Source RPM: centos-release-4-8.src.rpm
Size        : 47474                            License: GPL
Signature   : DSA/SHA1, Wed 22 Jul 2009 02:29:05 PM PDT, Key ID a53d0bab443e1821
Summary     : Centos Linux release file
Description :
CentOS release files

the only thing I can think of is that for some reason that file didn't get upgraded when you did the upgrade of the system. If you still have the -4-8 version installed, the system will report centos-4.8.

/etc/redhat-release is also owned by the centos-release rpm.

Bottom line: I think you still have the 4.8 version of this package installed.

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CentOS 4.9 is, actually, just the addition of a bunch of updated packages.

According to the Release Notes (link below), it's the upstream (RHEL4 Update9) decision:

NOTE: The upstream provider did not respin media for the 4.9 release and therefore the CentOS project will also not respin our install media. Installs moving forward will be off the 4.8 media and an upgrade will move you from version 4.8 to version 4.9. We do this to maintain compatibility with 3rd party kernel drivers which are designed to be installed as part of the installation process.

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