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Top Linux Distribution Releases of 2012

  • December 31, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

2012 was another full year of major Linux distribution releases from the top vendors in the space. Though it was also a year in which at least two projects were hit with release delays.

Fedora 17

The Fedora project had a bit of an odd year in 2012, issuing only one major release, instead of the planned two. Fedora 17, aka the 'Beefy Miracle' was released in May.

Among the highlights of Fedora 17 was the inclusion of the OpenStack Essex cloud platform as well as JBoss Application Server 7. Fedora 17 also included a long list of virtualization improvements.

Fedora 18, aka the Spherical Cow is currently on track for release early in 2013 after being delayed in 2012.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Fedora serves as the upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), a platform that sits at the core of a billion dollar revenue stream for Red Hat. During 2012, Red Hat released RHEL 6.3scaling up virtualization capabilities on Linux.

We've increased the number of CPUs that a virtual guest can support, from the previous limit of 64 up to a new limit of 160," Tim Burke, Vice-President of Linux Engineering at Red Hat, told InternetNews at the time.

During the year, RHEL 6.4 debuted in Beta, taking aim at Microsoft interoperability. RHEL 6.4 is currently set for general availability in 2013.

2013 will also be a big year for RHEL in that the next major platform release is set for this year as well. RHEL 6 was released back in November of 2010 and RHEL 7 is likely to be releasedat some point in 2013.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu was able to push out two major releases during 2012. The first release was the 12.04 Precise Pangolin release, that debuted in April. The 12.04 update is a Long Term Support (LTS) release, providing up to five years of server and desktop support.

In October, the Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal release hit general availability. Among the key highlights is deeper integration with OpenStack and full support for the ARM architecture.

OpenSUSE

The SUSE Linux project also had its fair share of release delays during 2012. OpenSUSE 12.2 became generally availablein September after the project's release engineering group pushed the update out from July.

While OpenSUSE 12.2 contains multiple feature updates, a core focus of the release was on platform stability.

"In general we concentrated on stabilizing the release," Jaeger said. "We've had over two hundred bug fixes in the last few months," Andreas Jaeger, program manager for openSUSE said at the time of the release.

OpenSUSE 12.3 is currently set for release in March of 2013.

On the enterprise side, SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 was updated to SP2 in March. SLES 11 SP2 included full support for Btfs and is based on the Linux 3.0 kernel.

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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