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Red Hat Enterprise Linux through Red Hat Developer is designed specifically so that software can be developed on the same platform to which it will be deployed—and here’s why it’s the best option for you.

No-cost developer access

With a $0 Red Hat Developer membership, you get access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) at no cost. We have downloads available for RHEL versions starting as far back as 7.2, and as current as RHEL 8.1 Beta. The subscription costs nothing, and there are no additional costs for any of the software or content we make available through the program.


The Red Hat Enterprise Linux you download from the Developer program is exactly the same RHEL you get with any other subscription. No, it’s not a trial. No, it’s not a preview. No, we haven’t disabled any features that you can enable with a paid subscription. Really—we want you to use this and be successful, so we don’t throw any surprises or weird workarounds at you.

Deployment simplicity

When you’re developing an application, you want to make sure you avoid unexpected snags. Developing an application on RHEL that will be deployed to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform helps you avoid surprises. If you code on the same version of RHEL you’re deploying to, all of your dependencies and runtime versions will be there. Remember when I said, “RHEL is RHEL is RHEL”?

Red Hat Customer Portal access

This is a major advantage of the Developer membership—full access to Red Hat Customer Portal. You get access to information about all of our products. Again, there’s nothing limited to “paid subscriptions”—no paywall anywhere—it’s all in the open with the membership. This information lets you address issues, see best practices, get self-service support, and get questions answered—and get it all straight from Red Hat.

RHEL excels

I want to talk a little more about why Red Hat Enterprise Linux is fantastic, too.

Linux for enterprises

Our customers range from huge, multinational corporations, to the classic “two developers and a dog” startups, but they all have something in common: They need their platform to be enterprise grade. The big customers need their platforms to be rock solid, manageable, scalable, secure, and compliant with regulations. And the small startup with big dreams needs the same thing.


Stable can mean a couple things: the operating system doesn’t fail, or the operating system has a long lifecycle and can be depended on for a long time. Right now, I’m talking about the latter. When you decide to use RHEL, you’re getting an operating system with a published, 10-year lifecycle.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for continuous IT security

Because our customers demand it, we build RHEL to support continuous IT security. The built-in protection of our compile-time options, our security backporting practice, our stronger defaults for best-practices cryptographic algorithms, stack smashing protection, ASLR, verification of patch and package updates, and SELinux turned on by default are all examples of how seriously we take this.


We include a full set of languages and runtimes, with stability and security in mind. Long lifecycle runtimes—as well as fast-moving, more dynamic runtimes—are there for developers. We are frequently involved in the upstream projects for these languages and are usually able to ship bug fixes and CVEs right away in the rpms. This extends to our container images as well, which we patch and repackage for any CVE anywhere in the container, not only if it is in the runtime.

Developer tooling

Compilers, performance tools, and language-specific toolkits are all built into RHEL. In RHEL 7, the /devtools content set in Software Collections is where you’ll find things like the Developer Toolset (think “gcc and friends”), CLANG & LLVM, Go Toolset, Rust Toolset, and more. This is a set of tools designed for software developers. There’s also the complete set of RHEL container tools—Podman, Buildah, and Skopeo—so you can work on cloud-native container-based apps as well.

Boring, as a feature

All of these add up to an operating system that’s … well, sort of boring. Red Hat has made boring a feature. We get excited about delivering platforms that never get exciting. RHEL lets you focus on your development, on making your app exciting for your end users, on delivering your application to your market. If you’re up at 2 a.m. banging on your keyboard, it should be because you’ve had a eureka moment and are in the flow, not because you’re on a deadline and can't get something to work because your operating system is getting in the way.

Usage options

Like any other Linux distribution, you can use Red Hat Enterprise Linux through the Developer program as a VM or on bare metal—the choice is up to you, and we provide instructions on installing RHEL on a number of hypervisors, as well as how to get it onto a laptop. Using your Red Hat Developer membership to run RHEL for development on cloud providers—usually in a “bring your own license” option—is also possible.

Download Red Hat Enterprise Linux from Red Hat Developer today.

Last updated: October 20, 2023