Does the exact distribution make any difference ?
The key factors that affect JBoss'es environment the most:
* The kernel.
* The JVM.
The key factors that affect the JVM the most:
* Glibc version.
Any modern distribution ships with a 2.6.x kernel and 2.3.x glibc. So from a "will it run?" and "will it be stable?" there is little difference if you compare at this level.
To say that one distribution should be recommended over another really has to reflect on the support contract level you want covering everything installed from those disks. If your level of expertise is such that you will never make the call for help then any distro will do you.
If you want to be sure you have no legal concerns then maybe debian is the distribution for you, I believe they exclude non GPL packages from their distro.
If you are a corporation who wants to be sure that the necessary skills to maintain the system(s) you deploy will be available at the right price for the forseeable future then this is where RHEL is pitching. They have successfully created their own eco-system and I see JBoss set to do the same.
As for CentOS I believe they re-built all the GPLed code base from the RHEL distribution minus any tools and programs that RH has not donated (or at least made available under license) to the community. They look set to sieze the market in areas where RH have now turned their back on because they have bigger fish to fry. Windows is starting to look cheaper to deploy when pitched against RHELs current pricing policies, so much for the toy OS of 10 years ago :) this is all good.
Exactly which parts of CentOS does RH own the rights to ? I think you'll find as an overall % of data thats its very very small. All the core components of the system RH definatly dont own these are all under GPL. It would be illegal for RH to make modifications to this code and re-distribute without that modification also falling under GPL. This is the primary reason historically of why RH are forced release their SRPM disks at the same time.
You have to remember that if it were not for GPL RH as a company would not exist, and they must be making plenty of money right so think of this as their way of giving back to the community in market areas that _they_ have decided not to cater for any longer.
Thanks for the input dlmiles.
I personally don't care about the distribution, but not being overly familiar with Jboss, I thought I would ask and see what input others had. The whole licensing issue has been discussed w/ the person making the decision, although, I've not been involved w/ the discussions so I'm not sure how well the argument has been made to go with CentOS.