Red Hat Updates RHEL 5.x

Red Hat this week announced an update of the 5.x version of its Enterprise Linux platform (RHEL), which is still widely used despite the release of RHEL 6.x in 2011. RHEL 5.10 adds features to the older platform that enhance the stability and security of the enterprise applications running on it.

Among the enhancements in this release is an update of OpenSCAP, an open source version of the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) configuration scanner. Managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), SCAP defines a standardized approach to maintaining security in enterprise systems. OpenSCAP, as implemented in RHEL 5.10, complies with the SCAP 1.2 standard.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company is still updating the older Linux distro, which was released in March 2007, because of a 10-year lifecycle established for this version. Red Hat maintains backwards compatibility with all 10 previous releases of RHEL 5.x, and will provide RHEL 5.x production support until March 31, 2017. It will provide Extended Upgrade Support (essentially critical security patches) until the first quarter of 2020.

"The release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.10 continues Red Hat's commitment to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform's 10-year lifecycle," said Jim Totton, VP and GM of Red Hat's Platform Business Unit, "with new capabilities to provide platform viability for years to come...."

Along with the new OpenSCAP support, RHEL 5.10 comes with some welcome enhancements, including:

  • Support for the most recent stable version of MySQL (v5.5), which improves on the open source RDBM's speed, scalability and ease of use. RHEL 5.10 also supports MySQL 5.1, which is required in order to upgrade to MySQL 5.5.

  • Updated subscription manager, which moves subscription on-premise and away from the Red Hat Customer Portal. The idea is to make it easier for users to match a subscription with their unique system needs. The new tool also aims to improve reporting on, and manage of, subscription usage across a large inventory of systems. Also allows custom, searchable key value pairs to systems.

  • Red Hat Access, a service delivered through the Red Hat Support Tool that provides an integrated means of getting answers from the Red Hat Knowledge base, using Red Hat's automated diagnostic services, and even engaging directly with Red Hat from a Linux terminal. According to the company, "Customers can use Red Hat Access to quickly resolve issues and analyze log files, core dumps and error messages, all from within Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.10."

The company also said that RHEL 5.10 users with developer subscriptions will now have access to Red Hat Developer Toolset 2.0, which is a set of open source dev tools that are on a separate, faster lifecycle -- what the company calls "a more frequent release cadence." These tools are running on a separate update clock from the tools in RHEL. Version 2.0 of the Toolset comes with Eclipse 4.3.0, Dyninst 8.0, Strace 4.7, and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 4.8 update.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].