CentOS 6 Debuts as Toyota Embraces the Penguin
This past week offered a mixed bag of Linux news. After months of delay, CentOS 6 finally debuted, while Ubuntu showed off another key milestone for the Oneiric Ocelot. It was also a week that showed us how far Linux has come: One of the world's largest automakers officially embraced Linux.
1. Toyota Joins the Linux Foundation
Make no mistake about it, this is big news. While Linux in the networking and Internet infrastructure world is no stranger, Linux is also no stranger in the embedded market. The opportunities for Linux at Toyota could be in both areas -- infrastructure and embedded.
The in-vehicle infotainment market is still a young one, and it's ripe for the opportunities that Linux can deliver. Automakers joining with tech vendors for in-car services isn't a new thing, Ford has a strategic partnership with Microsoft.
However, just because Toyota has joined the Linux Foundation doesn't mean you'll be able to get a shell on the display of your 2012 Prius. But, hey, the day may come when you can get a shell to diagnose a problem or have a web browser inside your passenger seat display.
Toyota joining the Linux Foundation is yet another indication of the importance of Linux to the embedded market. We all know Linux is also in consumer electronics and airplane entertainment systems; now Linux is in our cars, too.
2. CentOS 6 Released
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is the leader when it comes to enterprise Linux deployments, but it comes with a price. It's a price some organizations don't want to pay, which is how many end up using CentOS. CentOS is a clone version of RHEL providing the same code while stripping out any Red Hat trademarks.
For the RHEL 4.x and 5.x branches, CentOS kept up with Red Hat releases relatively closely. A CentOS release would follow a RHEL release by at most three or four months. That hasn't been the case with RHEL 6. Red Hat released RHEL 6 in November 2010, and CentOS users have been asking ever since when CentOS 6 would be out. At long last, CentOS 6.0 became officially available this past weekend.
Part of the delay in the CentOS 6 release can be attributed to new kernel packaging from Red Hat, which makes it harder for clones like CentOS to build a distro. Red Hat's move wasn't made to specifically target CentOS; it was actually aimed at Oracle, which also clones RHEL.
Oracle has its own resources, however, and put out Oracle Linux 6.0 in February. On the community front, Scientific Linux, another RHEL 6 clone, came out in March, four months ahead of CentOS 6. The Scientific Linux community faces the same challenges as CentOS when it comes to packaging, and it also doesn't have access to the same resource that a big company like Oracle can pull together.
So no, the delay doesn't look good for CentOS. It's unclear what the long-term effects of the CentOS 6 release delay will be. What the delay of CentOS 6 will mean for the continued survival of the CentOS project also remains to be seen. Some users might not care, but no doubt a good number do.
3. Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2
The Ubuntu Linux distribution hit another milestone this week with the second alpha release of the Oneiric Ocelot, also known as Ubuntu 11.10.
While still just an alpha release, Ubuntu has made some strategic decisions with the alpha. Among the most notable is the fact that Ubuntu 11.0 uses Mozilla Thunderbird and not GNOME Evolution for the default email client.
While many users may have chosen to use Thunderbird in the past, this is the first time Ubuntu has made Thunderbird the default. Users can still choose to use Evolution, and the GNOME email client will be available from the Ubuntu repositories.
The move to Thunderbird is seen by some as yet another step away from the mainline of GNOME as Ubuntu charts its own Linux desktop path.
4. Linux 3.0 Coming ... Soon
Linux 3.0 is still likely coming out this month, just not this week. Late Monday, Linus Torvalds issued the seventh release candidate for Linux 3.0.
Torvalds had previously said that the sixth release candidate would be the last. The seventh release candidate fixes some issue found with rc 6 related to the scheduler. Approximately two thirds of the updates in rc7 are driver related.
5. Linux 188.8.131.52 Released
While Linux 3.0 rounds the corner, stability and security fixes continue to be made on the current 2.6.39 release. This past week, the 2.6.39 kernel was released, proving once again that Linux is always evolving and getting more stable.