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The problem with Red Hat is that it represents a moving target driven by its corporate goals and the greed of its brass. The latter means that it slowly but surely destroys Linux in the name of profitability.
They also try to bind the users to their distribution by incessant and excessive stream of patches, sometimes with several patches a day. Some subsystems such as systemd are patched almost each patch cycle representing a variation of the theme of the "car in permanent repair mode"
Even so called security patches which represents a small subset of total parches are highly questionable: Red Hat does not provide any information to what exact vulnerabilities the particular patch addresses, outside really big SNAFU when some high provide customers are affected and the scandal unfolds. So most probably only few of them matter. But they less a nuisance than the application of all patches, and as such they are preferable.
Typically Red Hat releases minor updates once a year or so. That means that you can expect ten minor(dot) updates for the life of the particular version. And true enough, the last minor update for RHEL6 was RHEL 6.10. RHEL7, which proved to be more fragile and less stable then RHEL6, probably will exceeds that. As of December 2020 it reached level of 7.9 and it still has four years to go.
Generally, I would recommend against too much zeal in applying patches to Red Hat systems. IMHO it is enough to update only on minor releases (with some lag) and use only security patches for your quarterly or monthly updates until a new minor release emerges, unless you experience a real problems with the particular version. Which now happens more and more often.
In general, security provided by the security updates is by-and-large an illusion, as RHEL is so complex that it is reasonable to assume that it contains infinite number of zero day exploits. As such it can not be made more secure by applying a couple of dozen fixes. So at best this is a ritual like a variation of classic sysadmin ritual of "waving a dead chicken": security now is mainly architectural thing with firewall being the first and most important line of defense. SElinux also can play a role but it is very complex and few sysadmin learn to use it properly.
On other words, no amount of patches can change Red Hat for the better, much like no amount of patches can change Microsoft Windows for the better. It is inherently insecure system, especially against qualified and determined attacker with some financial resources and/or financial incentives.
In this sense RHEL sucks even more then Suse and Ubuntu, as SE Linux subsystem is very complex and few sysadmin learn it and use correctly, and it does not have much simpler and more elegant AppArmor subsystem, which solves the problem for the packages which use ports to communicate (such as http, ssh and other servers) by essentially providing per application value of umask for each directory.
Urgent bugs not on the list may be addressed at Red Hat discretion.
The policy applies ONLY on current active minor releases per the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle Policy.
Note: Active minor releases refers to the period of time a specific minor release is maintained. For example, RHEL 8.1 with EUS is active for 24 months from general availability.
There are no more runlevels in this version, but some proxy exists in systemd. See Systemd invasion into Linux distributions.
It uses Bash 4.2, Perl 5.16.3, PHP 5.4.16, Python 2.7.5 9 (which is the most popular version of Python, especially for scientific applications).
The high-capacity, 64-bit XFS file system, now the default file system. (you need to install XFS utilities separately in RHEL6). It originated in the Silicon Graphics Irix operating system. It can scale up to 500 TB. In comparison, previous file system, Ext 4, supported up to 16 TBs. From Wikipedia (Red Hat Linux
gave me impression of half-baked, rushed to customer distribution and may be signal internal crisis in RHEL development as in some
areas it is worse then RHEL 5.6. It stabilized around version 6.5. Bash version is 4.1. It updated Perl to 5.10.1. PHP to 5.3.2.
It uses NFS4 by default.
Red Hat offers subscription services for each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux throughout four life-cycle phases—called Production 1, 2, and 3, and an Extended Life Phase.
The Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle phases are designed to reduce the level of change within each major releasei over time and make release availability and content more predictable.
|Extended Life-cycle Support
|Production 1 (~ 5 ˝ years)||Production 2 ( 1 year)||Production 3 (~ 3 ˝ years)||Extended Life Phase (Ongoing)|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Year 7||Year 8||Year 9||Year 10||Year 11+|
* The life-cycle time spans and dates are subject to adjustment.
Software changes to Red Hat Enterprise Linux are delivered via individual updates known as errata advisories through the Red Hat Customer Portal or other authorized portals. Errata advisories can be released individually on an as-needed basis or aggregated as a minor release. Errata advisories may contain security fixes (Red Hat Security Advisories or RHSAs), bug fixes (Red Hat Bug Fix Advisories or RHBAs), or feature enhancements (Red Hat Enhancement Advisories or RHEAs). All errata advisories are tested and qualified against the respective, active Red Hat Enterprise Linux major release. (For example, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 RHSA will be applied cumulatively to the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 version and patch set.) All released errata advisories remain accessible to active subscribers for the entire Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle. Within each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, any errata advisory (including one released as part of a minor release) will be applied cumulatively to the latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including any patch sets.
During the life cycle of a major Red Hat Enterprise Linux release, Red Hat makes commercially reasonable efforts to maintain binary compatibility for the core runtime environment across all minor releases and errata advisories. If necessary, Red Hat may make exceptions to this compatibility goal for Critical impact security or other significant issues. Furthermore, major releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux contain a limited set of backward-compatible libraries included in previous major releases to allow for the easy migration of applications. Typically, Red Hat applies changes in such a way as to minimize the amount of change and to maintain binary compatibility. Exceptions may apply for controlled package re-bases under certain circumstances. The binary compatibility goal is extended to Red Hat Enterprise Linux for use in an application container. However, this is not extended to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host or application containers that may run on top of the host since both may include packages or package versions not shipped as part of the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Additional details can be found in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Application Compatibility Guide.
The following table details the subscription services, including support and software maintenance, performed during each phase of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle:
|Description||Production 1||Production 2||Production 3||Extended Life Phase7||Extended Life Cycle Support (ELS) Add-On8||Extended Update Support (EUS) Add-On8|
|Access to Previously Released Content through the Red Hat Customer Portal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Self-help through the Red Hat Customer Portal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Asynchronous Security Errata (RHSA)10 11||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes8||Yes8|
|Asynchronous Bug Fix Errata (RHBA)2 11||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Refreshed Hardware Enablement3||Native||Limited4 Native||Using Virtualization||Using Virtualization||Using Virtualization||Using Virtualization|
|Updated Installation Images||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
During the Production 1 Phase, qualified Critical and Important Security errata advisories (RHSAs) and Urgent and Selected High Priority Bug Fix errata advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate.
If available, new or improved hardware enablement and select enhanced software functionality may be provided at the discretion of Red Hat, generally in minor releases. Hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes may be provided independent from minor releases at Red Hat's discretion.
Minor releases will also include available and qualified errata advisories (RHSAs, RHBAs, and RHEAs). Minor releases are cumulative and include the contents of previously released updates. The focus for minor releases during this phase lies on resolving defects of medium or higher priority.
Updated installation images will be provided for minor releases during the Production 1 Phase.
During the Production 2 Phase, qualified Critical and Important Security errata advisories (RHSAs) and Urgent Priority Bug Fix errata advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate.
If available, hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes may be provided at the discretion of Red Hat, generally in minor releases. New software functionality is not available during this phase.
Minor releases will also include all available and qualified errata. Minor releases are cumulative and thus include the contents of previously released minor releases and errata advisories, including those from Production 1 Phase. The focus for minor releases during this phase lies on resolving urgent- or high-priority bugs.
Updated installation images will be provided at Red Hat's discretion for minor releases during the Production 2 Phase only if required because of installer changes.
During the Production 3 Phase, Critical impact Security Advisories (RHSAs) and selected Urgent Priority Bug Fix Advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate.
New functionality and new hardware enablement are not planned for availability in the Production 3 Phase. Minor releases with updated installation images may be made available in this Phase.
During the Extended Life Phase, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription provides continued access to previously released content on the Red Hat Customer Portal, as well as other content such as documentation and the Red Hat Knowledgebase. Advice for migrating to currently supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions may also be provided.
For versions of products in the Extended Life Phase, Red Hat will provide limited ongoing technical support. No bug fixes, security fixes, hardware enablement or root-cause analysis will be available during this phase, and support will be provided on existing installations only.
Red Hat reserves the right to terminate the ongoing support in the Extended Life Phase for a particular version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux at any time.
As an optionally available Add-On to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, Red Hat offers an Extended Life-cycle Support (ELS) subscription. Available during the Extended Life Phase of the product life cycle for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5, the Extended Life-cycle Support Add-On delivers critical-impact security fixes and selected urgent-priority bug fixes that are available and qualified. ELS subscriptions are delivered after the end of Production 3 Phase for the last minor release.
For guidance on how to best modernize your Red Hat infrastructure with a solution that meets your business needs, contact Red Hat Consulting.
All future dates mentioned for "End of Production 1" and "End of Production 2" are close approximations, non definitive, and subject to change.
|Version||General Availability||End of Production 1||End of Production 2||End of Production 3 (End of Production Phase)||End of Extended Life-cycle Support||End of Extended Life Phase|
|3||October 23, 2003||July 20, 2006||June 30, 2007||October 31, 2010||January 30, 2014||January 30, 2014|
|4||February 14, 2005||March 31, 2009||February 16, 2011||February 29, 2012||March 31, 2017||Ongoing|
|5||March 15, 2007||January 8, 2013||January 31, 2014||March 31, 2017||November 30, 2020||Ongoing|
|6||November 10, 2010||Q2 of 2016||Q2 of 2017||November 30, 2020||N/A||Ongoing|
|7||June 10, 2014||Q4 of 2019||Q4 of 2020||June 30, 2024||N/A||Ongoing|
Red Hat offers the Extended Update Support (EUS) Add-On to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for those customers who wish to standardize on a specific minor release for an extended period of time. The EUS Add-On allows customers the flexibility to decide when to take advantage of new Red Hat Enterprise Linux features, including new hardware enablement.
Under a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, all available RHSAs and RHBAs are provided for the current active minor release until the availability of the next minor release. By contrast, EUS delivers—for a specific minor release—an independent, extended stream of those Critical impact RHSAs and selected Urgent Priority RHBAs that are available after that specific minor release and in parallel to subsequent minor releases. For EUS subscribers, Red Hat generally will continue to proactively provide Critical impact RHSAs independent of customer requests if and when available. See the list of packages included in EUS here.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host is retired as of August 6, 2020 and active support is no longer provided. Accordingly, this guide is deprecated and will no longer receive updates.
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