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Red Hat Enterprise Linux Turns 10 as Slackware Lives On

  • May 14, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

When Peter Volkerding built the Slackware Linux distro back in 1993, the Linux Planet was a very different place. This week we celebrate the continued survival of Slackware and the enterprise Linux model that is the present and the future of commercial Linux.

1) Red Hat Enterprise Linux turns 10

When Red Hat started out, there was no such thing as an enterprise Linux distribution. A Linux distribution was simply that – a distribution of software collected together. Red Hat helped to change that model over the years and it's most significant contribution was arguably the creation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, 10 years ago.

Instead of the (relatively) rapid release rate of Red Hat Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) was intended to provide enterprise stability and longer release cycles of 18-24 months. Red Hat Linux back then iterated as many as three times a year and that was seen as a barrier to commercial adoption. RHEL soon after its creation became so popular that it killed Red Hat Linux as a standalone business.

Red Hat Linux was morphed into the community Fedora Linux project, which to date in all the years since has never been a commercial effort. Instead Fedora feeds the RHEL project.

This is a model that today is normal to all of us and is often held up as the standard by which all successful open source models are judged. Ten years ago, RHEL was a novel concept and one that broke the existing Red Hat model.

After ten years of RHEL, Red Hat is now at an all time high, hitting $1 billion in sales and perhaps more importantly still continuing to lead the Linux plant in terms of contributions to the Linux kernel.

2) Slackware Lives

There had been some speculation in recent week that Slackware, the granddaddy of Linux distributions had finally been laid to rest.

As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. A server hosting slackware died, not the project itself.

"We're looking for a new place to put the main site," Patrick Vokerding wrote in a Slashdot comment. "Perhaps it could move to our other server, connie.slackware.com (in which case we need a PHP guru to port it to the latest version). There are other Slackware related servers that might be able to host us as well. To be honest, connie is also getting a little long in the tooth (that's a Pentium III with 256MB of RAM)."

3) Linux 3.4 nears completion.

While we remember the past glories of Linux with Slackware and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it's important to remember that Linus Torvalds continues to toil on new kernels.

This past week, Torvalds release the seventh release candidate for Linux 3.4. The new kernel will include networking enhancements such as the qdisk plugging mechanism.

"When the qdisc receives a plug command via netlink request, packets arriving henceforth are buffered until a corresponding unplug command is received," the commit code states. "Depending on the type of unplug command, the queue can be unplugged indefinitely or selectively."

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

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