Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is RHEL5 the New XP of Linux World?

red hat enterprise linux 6 delays releaseIf you blamed Redmond for the late release of Vista (almost 6 years after XP) then think again, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 is the new XP of Linux World. And the same user-reaction is building towards it.

As per official documents Red Hat declares of following a 18-24 months release cycle. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 was released on 2007-03-14, and it's about 3 long years now, still there is no official announcement. The question here is how long will Red Hat possibly stick with 2.6.18 kernel line and the contemporary packages. The present status of Red Hat Desktop is a stable but obsolete distribution.

Of course, the server side story of big corporates is different. They would still stick to the standardized and stable base - RHEL5. Though Red Hat does not make it explicit, seems it only aims for servers in big corporates. Even its desktop offering is meant for biggies only. Had it at all aimed at a general desktop, we could have seen a major release sometime in 2009.

Linux desktop has made some great jumps over the past three years. There have been KMS, CFS, the new 2.6.31 desktop oriented kernel, virtualization and a lot more in terms of userspace and application program updates. Interestingly late-to-the-party Debain is catching up with these developments. But Red Hat...

1. Is Red Hat finding it difficult to maintain 4 releases at a time, that's why the delay in RHEL 6?
2. Has it changed its release plans (without making it public) and preferred a feature-based release to a time-based release.
3. Are the corporate clients too happy with RHEL 5 (like XP) and there would be no pleasant acceptance of a new release?
4. Or Red Hat aims only for Servers and RHEL 5.4 serves that purpose best and there is no need for a release?

Visitors, please post your comments on RHEL6 here.


Drew said...

I thought RHEL was supported for like 5-7 years? They do focus on servers, not the desktop.

vonskippy said...

As a long time enterprise user of RHEL, I'd say it's #4. There's no need to upgrade - it's stable, it's secure, and as a server platform - it does what it's suppose to.

manmath sahu said...

Thanks Drew for dropping by. At last somebody agrees that Red Hat's focus is server. But Red Hat should come forward to say the same. Many still think for and go by Red Hat for their desktops.

Drew said...

Red Hat did make a mention a while ago that they focus on the server because they don't see a means of monetizing the desktop. On the plus side, they are good at what they do (servers).

Some people may call their desktop Red Hat when they are actually using Fedora, yet Fedora is very different;
1) it's a community distro (no paid support)
2) leading-edge version of applications and technology (meaning, more buggy and potential issues)
3) more desktop orientated (desktop environments, wireless, laptop battery, etc.)
4) rapid release cycle (6 months) and shorter support lengths (12-13 months)

When Red Hat 6 comes out it will be based on a few Fedora versions ago (10?), so Fedora is always testing and exploring.

Fedora is never really focused on a stable, daily-use desktop though recent work has made it more stable and usable. Version 12 includes OpenFWWF drivers which allowed my laptop to recognize and use my Broadcom wireless card out-of-the-box!

Ravi S said...

Actually Redhat selectively backports features from newer kernel releases to it's RHEL 5 base kernel. The kernel version is 2.6.18 in name only. features like KVM, power management, new drivers etc come to mind

The biggest problem has always been availability of software when compared to the community distros like fedora,ubuntu and debian. Third party repos like livna,rpmforge etc do help but it is still difficult for a normal non-corporat'y end user to run RHEL on his/her desktop...

Anonymous said...

There were a few update releases since RHEL 5.0. You may want to take that into account when it comes to release cycles.

It's an enterprise OS after all, therefore you can't just replace the kernel as you please. If you need bleeding edge, use Fedora.

manmath sahu said...

i'll never use, nor suggest others to use Fedora. It's always been a broken piece of software.

Anonymous said...

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And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

Nifty Future Tips said...

There were a few update releases since RHEL 5.0. You may want to take that into account when it comes to release cycles.

I will check this later

manmath sahu said...

Nifty Future Tips,
Yes, I know Red Hat throws point releases almost regularly. And we have seen 4 point releases of RHEL, the fifth one will hit the mirrors soon. However, this post is about major releases. RHEL 5 has grown into becoming so old that it's no more useful for desktops. Old compilers, obsolute packages, yesteryears' desktop environment.

Of course, the server/enterprise market is still loving it. And there is no demand for a next release from that quarter.

How about this