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Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat

The existence of Red Hat can be traced back to 1994 when Marc Ewing created his own distribution of Linux, which he named Red Hat Linux.  A year later Bob Young purchased Marc's business, and named the new company, Red Hat Software. 

In 2003 Red Hat announced their plan to partially abandon their legacy as a user friendly, desktop distribution and to focus their efforts on their enterprise server products and paid support programs under a brand new name, Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (often abbreviated to RHEL) is a commercial Linux distribution developed by Red Hat.  However, as RHEL is based completely on free and open source software, the entire source code is available to download.  A number of other organisations have compiled their own versions of RHEL which essentially are the same as RHEL.

The key attributte of RHEL 5 which makes it stand out is its integrated Xen virtualization support.  This feature enables the distro either to host Linux guest instances with Xen-aware kernels, or to host unmodified guest operating systems, such as Windows.  This lets a user run a number of different operating systems concurrently, on the same physical server.  Consequently, firms can consolidate current workloads onto a single server, making Linux even more cost efficient.

One of RHEL 5's most distinctive features is its support for SELinux, which bolsters the security of the Linux machines on which it's deployed by meting out to applications and users only those rights explicitly granted by policy.  It also includes support for Intel Network Accelerator Technology, has IPSEC enhancements, ExecShield enhancements, such as a call frame Canary word, strengthen hacker defenses, and new audit features.

Although this is a commercial distribution, it is important to recognise the fact that Red Hat has made enormous contributions to free and Open Source software.  For example, Red Hat is one of the leading contributors to the development of the Linux kernel.  It has written a number of key administration frameworks including the RPM package manager, anaconda, up2date.  It also plays a major role in the development of programmers' 'essentials' such as gcc, binutils, glibc2.  The firm is also very active in GNOME, the development of service management tools, system clustering and much more.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 Key Facts

Red Hat, Inc
Basic Subscription (1 year web support, 2 business day response, unlimited incidents) $349
Standard Subscription (1 year 12x5 phone support, 1 year web, unlimited incidents) $799
Premium Subscription (1 year 24x7 phone support, 1 year web, unlimited incidents) $1,299
18 November 2007
Installation Media:
ISO images, CD, DVD
Architectures supported:
Intel x86, Intel IA-64, PowerPC, AMD64, Itanium II, zSeries, S/390
Package Management:
RPM Package Manager
Official Website:

GNOME 2.16.0
KDE 3.5.6
XOrg 7.1.1
Xfce -
OpenOffice 2.0.4
Evolution 2.8.0
Gimp 2.2.13
Python 2.4.3
Apache 2.2.3
PostgreSQL 8.1.9
GNU Compiler Collection 4.1.1


5 (current release)
Linux Format, eWEEK, TechworldPCW, Builder au, CRN
Computerworld, Linux Journal, ZDNet, eWEEKInfoWorldLinuxPlanetNewsForge

Selected Websites

Other Official Websites
RedHat Store, Red Hat Magazine, Security Advisories, Red Hat Network, Red Hat HCL, Red Hat Knowledgebase
Red Hat People Blogs
Dries RPM Repository, Fresh RPMs, RPM Package Manager, Red Hat High

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Last Updated Friday, March 21 2008 @ 06:49 AM EST

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