CentOS is usually labelled as the free, community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In a lot of ways this is true; the distro is comprised of the freely available packages that make up the bulk RHEL. Because of this, CentOS has been considered somewhat of a rival to Red Hat. However, according to Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens, this is not the case.
Talking to eWEEK, Stevens mentioned that while Red Hat does not provide commercial support to CentOS, there is a relationship with the developers that allows them to help fix with code and and prioritise popular features.
It’s not all out of the goodness of their own hearts though – Red Hat is a business after all. Stevens believes that companies using CentOS will eventually upgrade to RHEL when they eventually scale an operation up. A better experience with CentOS should make it more likely the switch will be made.