Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Hits the Street

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-03-14 Print this article Print

The new operating system reflects not only years of engineering work by Red Hat itself, but also its collaboration efforts with strategic partners such as IBM—the result being Real-Time Linux capabilities, improved virtualization features and securit

The release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 at a media event in San Francisco on March 14 reflects not only years of engineering work by Red Hat itself, but also its collaboration efforts with strategic partners such as IBM. This collaboration resulted in the integration of Real-Time Linux capabilities, improved virtualization features and security enhancements into the latest version of the companys operating system, said Dan Frye, vice president for open systems development at IBM.
Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat, also acknowledged the contributions of others to the product.
"RHEL 5 is much more that just an upgrade to Linux—it is the culmination of a complete enterprise architecture that includes a broad ecosystem of certified, reliable solutions from partners like IBM," he said. RHEL 5 includes the Xen virtualization technology found in the Linux kernel, which helps businesses lower management costs by increasing server utilization. Novell accuses Red Hat of flip-flopping on Xen. Read about it here. IBM, which have been working with Red Hat and the Xen development community over the past two years to develop and harden the Xen hypervisor, plans to support the Xen technology in RHEL 5 through the companys virtualization portfolio running on its Intel and Opteron processor-based server and IBM BladeCenter systems, Frye said. But Justin Steinman, director of product marketing for Linux and open source at Red Hat competitor Novell, is quick to point out that SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 was first to market with Xen virtualization, which provides enterprises with a lower-cost alternative to market leader VMware. "With RHEL 5, Red Hat is following Novells lead by including Xen into their distribution. Novell is already in Phase Two with our Xen virtualization offering, including exclusive interoperability with Microsoft Windows and new tools to manage both physical and virtual servers in the data center," he said. Oracle is losing patience with XenSource and VMware. Find out why. IBM is currently testing and certifying RHEL 5 across all of its standards-based systems hardware and middleware and also plans to provide services and support for RHEL 5. In addition, Big Blue and Red Hat developers collaborated with the open-source community to build Security-Enhanced Linux into Red Hats core operating system to provide Multilevel Security capabilities. These capabilities enable enterprise customers, particularly those in the government sector, to create a mandatory access control policy that allows information to be classified as top secret, secret, confidential and unclassified. "This security underpinning of the Linux kernel compartmentalizes applications and services into distinct security domains, providing a highly secure platform for applications or data for all types of customers. After testing and certification, these features will be available in RHEL 5, and supported by IBM software and systems," Frye said. IBM hardware and software products running on RHEL 5 are also being evaluated at the Common Criteria EAL (Evaluated Assurance Level) 4+, LSPP (Labeled Security Protection Profile), RBAC (Role Based Access Control Protection Profile) and CAPP (Controlled Access Protection Profile). Red Hat plans to include in RHEL 5.1 as a technology preview new encrypted file system capabilities developed by IBM and adopted in the kernel to protect user identity by encrypting data at the file level in systems and on laptops. Next Page: Real-Time Linux.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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