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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1 Looks Great, Performance Is Great
RHEL Workstation is the only enterprise grade Linux workstation OS that includes many years of continuous updates and support.
Just to be clear, in this context updates = bug fixes, updates != new features/upgrades.
There are many advantages to upgrades: better performance, it can take a while before drivers are backported to old kernels so you can't use that shiny new server.
Of course, some people then add EPEL to their RHEL installation to get things like new kernel versions; to some extent this defeats the whole point of having an "appliance-like" OS install.
Most other distros like Fedora, etc. only update for a year or so, then they expect you to throw it all away and install the next version. They don't even offer an upgrade capability, you have to format your drive and reinstall the new version from scratch.
That's basically wrong. It's been perfectly possible to upgrade from fedora 18 to 19 to 20, and indeed I have, as have many colleagues. In contrast, upgrading from centos/rhel5.x to 6.x is far from trivial.
sorry if I'm being dumb, but why do you need a GUI on a server? I guess it's handy for managing virtualised guests?
One reason could be delegation of responsibilities. Many small companies doesn't have any dedicated IT staff at all, but rely on external consultants to deploy and run their hardware and software. This means paying every time e.g. a new user is added or deleted, so they might want a nice GUI so the local secretary can add and delete users without involving the consultants, or check certain log files, etc.
Aside from the security problems of running X, such a GUI isn't a resource problem on a modern local file-and-print server.