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who uses redhat ? (im not being sarcastic)

Regulatory compliance in various fields stipulates that you have defined responsibilities and support accountability. The net value here is that a vendor like Red Hat is already deployed at companies who comply to the same regulations, so we can all share and leverage best practice documents to satisfy those controls. Even if you had a team of 10 smart Linux engineers, you save time and money by leveraging Red Hat.

In addition, you may also need patent indemnification and reliable security updates (we leaned on Red Hat heavily during ShellShock and others). For example, before I release a Linux image I have a checklist of 450+ items, including things like NIST certification. Red Hat streamlines this process as it has already been certified across the most strenuous of regulatory and compliance environments, and we can reuse much of that work.

This isn't important for a clothing website startup for example, but for aircraft, CT scanners, anything ISO compliant, finance it is paramount to what is being delivered.

Generally speaking, entities where their professional administration teams need a *nix product with a strong reputation for dependability and the fall-back option of a support contact for when things go pear-shaped. This is vaguely referred to as "The Enterprise," because they tend to be large, low risk organizations with high user counts.

RedHat's userbase is basically the opposite side of the spectrum from Ubuntu users flying by the seat of their pants with that popular free server thingie they heard about.

Non-startup world uses Redhat.

Amazon Linux is based on Redhat. CentOS is a Redhat recompile, so you can say anyone using that is also using "Redhat". US govt almost exclusively uses RHEL when they mean "Linux". Also banks, healthcare, etc.

Red Hat is by far the most successful open source company and will be the first to reach $2bn in annual revenues (it's on $1.9bn ttm). It's also very profitable -- it made $180m in its last financial year -- though presumably some of that comes from JBoss.

It seems to be by far the most popular version used by governments and large corporations.

"We're an enterprise software company. You're either consumer or enterprise. We're enterprise."

Shops that actually want the support that Redhat provides, otherwise they would probably use Debian or Centos.

I would assume Redhat-required shops would be running some pretty heavy, sophisticated workloads.

Enterprise. They don't buy into anything unless they can get "real" support (not just a few neckbeards telling them they can admin Linux).

Almost the entire finance industry and banking industry runs on RHEL or SLES (mostly RHEL in the US).

It is huge in embedded platforms. Many manufacturers have migrated from Embedded Windows to "hardened Linux" which is usually RHEL.

"Enterprise". E.g. you won't find a bank that doesn't run RedHat. RedHat is Linux for enterprise people.

I work at a space science / tech research lab at the university of colorado. RHEL is our distro of choice for linux machines

People who have and need sufficient Infrastructure. The unglamorous servers that you expect to just chug along doing their jobs -- internal file servers, database servers, etc. Because RHEL has a support cycle that's a decade long, you can ensure that those servers don't need to go through the expensive and time consuming process of testing a stack with a new platform nearly as often.

Anyone who wants to run Oracle on a supported version of Linux, that isn't 'unbreakable'.

If you want support from Oracle and you're not running on RHEL or Oracle's own offering, the answer usually is, "Get back to us when you can reproduce it on a supported flavor of Linux."

the US government is a big one.

There is also a pretty big Fedora community

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