My startup of only 17 employees can benefit from a RHEL-like server OS without the RHEL cost. We've inherited a full copy of RHEL 7 documentation, and as the IT Admin, I'm curious if those manuals apply nearly verbatim to CentOS 7?

The CentOS.org website has sparse manuals available for CentOS 7, just CentOS 5.x.

  • 1
    Except for the licensing parts, yes. You can ignore the licensing parts.
    – user143703
    Sep 2, 2016 at 0:36
  • 3
    Kudos to you for actually showing interest in manuals. That's a rare quality these days, especially on ServerFault.
    – Wesley
    Sep 2, 2016 at 0:43
  • 1
    Pretty bad question.
    – ewwhite
    Sep 3, 2016 at 22:54

3 Answers 3


The vast majority of things in the RHEL documentation will apply to CentOS without change.

The main things that need adjustment are those that have to do with licensing and subscription, such as:

  • Registering the system: Not necessary on CentOS.
  • Adding software channels (such as High Availability, Enterprise Virtualization, Software Collections, etc.): These have all been ported to CentOS but have different repository locations and installation instructions. The most commonly needed channel, the "optional" channel, is part of base CentOS and does not need to be enabled separately as it does on RHEL.
  • Kpatch live kernel patching. While the kpatch utility is available on CentOS, actual kernel patches are not being created.

BTW, I don't know what you mean by "inherited" a copy of the RHEL documentation. It is all available online for free and under a Creative Commons license.

  • I didn't officially know that, since RHEL wasn't researched much beyond its licensing. One of our life science vendors had them all downloaded on a flash drive, no biggie. I'm personally of a long Fedora background
    – Some Dude
    Sep 2, 2016 at 4:57
  • 3
    P.S. You can get a no-cost RHEL subscription for non-production use by signing up at developers.redhat.com Sep 2, 2016 at 5:03
  • Actually a developer subscription is $99 from my research, but thank you. I ultimately need a production distribution
    – Some Dude
    Sep 2, 2016 at 6:32
  • @SomeDude scroll down a bit in his link, you see "$0 RHEL developer subscription" developers.redhat.com/blog/2016/03/31/…
    – jscott
    Sep 2, 2016 at 10:41

Yes. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


In addition to the previous answers, there are two points to keep in mind. Firstly, CentOS is built for a much larger range of hardware than RHEL. That means kernel compilation includes more device drivers and can use slightly different options. Secondly, if software sources are identical (except logos and trademarks), default configuration files can include differences.

  • I've never seen a configuration file with any substantive difference between CentOS and RHEL (e.g. discounting comments). Do you have an example? Sep 16, 2016 at 22:36

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