Sitting at the heart of every Linux OS distribution is a Linux kernel. When it comes to the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 release, the issue of which kernel is being used is not a cut and dried answer, however.
RHEL 6 is currently in its first beta release, with a feature freeze now in place. Currently, the mainline Linux kernel is nearing its 2.6.34 release, while the most recent stable release is the 2.6.33 release, which came out in February. But instead of either sticking with the 2.6.33 Linux kernel or holding out for 2.6.34, Red Hat is taking a different approach.
“We do have pieces of 2.6.34, as well as the preceding kernel versions in RHEL 6,” Tim Burke, vice president of platform engineering at Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), told InternetNews.com. “So there is no one [kernel version] number that accurately represents the RHEL 6 kernel. We take what is upstream; if there are pieces that are not mature, we disable them so they don’t disrupt things; and there are some technology pieces that are further ahead that we pull in.”
As a result of RHEL’s approach, its kernel is a hybrid of best-of-breed technologies. And it’s in keeping with earlier Red Hat releases. Back in 2004, Red Hat was backporting features from the Linux 2.6 kernel into its own 2.4 Linux kernel. The Red Hat approach to backporting features was praised at the time by Linux creator Linus Torvalds.
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