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Oracle Chases Red Hat Release Cycle

  • December 20, 2011
  • By Sean Kerner

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than Red Hat should be flattered by Oracle Linux. That's not likely case on the Linux Planet, as Red Hat pushes forward with its own agenda and revenue even as Oracle updates its own Linux.

1. Red Hat Revenues Continue to Grow

When it comes to pure-play Linux companies, no one is bigger than Red Hat. This week, Red Hat reported its third-quarter revenue for its fiscal 2012 quarter ending November 30, 2011. For the quarter, the company reported 23 percent year-over-year revenue growth with $290 million. Red Hat's net income was reported at $38.2 million, up from $26.0 million last year.

"Red Hat continues to benefit from enterprise customers that are seeking to leverage their IT infrastructure to drive significant productivity gains and agility across their organizations," Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer of Red Hat, said in a statement. "The combination of strong sales execution, market demand and market share gains contributed to organic billings and revenue growth of 23 percent for the quarter."

2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product line is a key driver for the business. Although Red Hat released RHEL 6.0 in November 2010, it still supports RHEL 5.x users and will for many years to come.

This past week, the commitment to RHEL 5.x was demonstrated with the beta release of RHEL 5.8. The new release includes improvements to power management as well as both KVM and Xen virtualization.

"RHEL 5 is still getting development features, so it's definitely not the end of the road for RHEL 5," Tim Burke, vice president of Linux Engineering at Red Hat, said. "Remember we have a 10-year product lifecycle. At this point, RHEL 5 is only four years old, so we still have a long runway left for RHEL 5."

3. Oracle Linux 6.2

The current leading edge of RHEL releases is the 6.2 branch. Red Hat released RHEL 6.2on December 7, providing new cgroups resource control features.

Just over a week later, Oracle released its RHEL-based Linux release, Oracle Linux 6.2. Oracle Linux 6.2 differs from the RHEL 6.2 release in a few key areas, most notably the kernel. Oracle uses its Unbreakable Linux Kernel (kernel-uek) and provides additional support for the OCFS2 (Oracle Cluster Filesystem).

Oracle isn't the only RHEL clone in the market, but it is without a doubt the fastest to market. Scientific Linux and CentOS, the other two popular RHEL clones, to date have not yet released their versions of RHEL 6.2

4. Linux 3.2 RC6

Work continues to move forward on the Linux 3.2 kernel, with a release expected soon.

"We're at -rc6 now, and while I can see myself doing an -rc7, I probably won't do an -rc8 unless something bad pops up," Linus Torvalds wrote. "There doesn't seem to be any real reason to drag out this release any more, and we'll probably have the real 3.2 around new years."

5. Firefox 9 Released

For many Linux distros, Mozilla's Firefox remains the default browser. This week, the latest iteration of the open source browser was released with Firefox 9. The big new feature for Linux users in Firefox 9 is an improved JavaScript engine.

Firefox 9 makes use of something known as Type Inferences, which helps to boost performance by as much as 30 percent.

On the developer side, there is also support for chunked XHR (XML over Htttp Requests). Chunked XHR enables Ajax requests to be loaded in "chunks," which streamlines page and application loading.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

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