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14 February 2011, 16:48

Oracle Linux 6 available

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With a simple email to an in-house mailing list, last Friday Oracle announced the general availability of Oracle Linux 6. There is, as yet, no press release on the release, which is unusual as the company and its CEO usually tend to aim for maximum publicity.

The new generation Oracle Linux is largely a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL), which was released last November. New features listed in the release email and release notes are, therefore, already familiar from the original, for instance the use of Ext4 as the default file system, the support of XFS and the ftrace and perf tracing tools. One section in the release notes lists all the packages Oracle has modified to adjust the distribution's "look and feel" and remove Red Hat trademarks.

In the x86-64 version of the Linux distribution, Oracle has integrated a variant of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel already familiar from Oracle Linux 5 – in certain tests, it's reported that the generation 5 kernel has been considerably faster than the Linux 2.6.18-based RHEL kernel. Oracle has also added modules to support its custom OCFS2 cluster file system; RHEL6 uses GFS2. While Oracle's kernel is started by default, an RHEL 6 compatible kernel is also installed.

Oracle Linux is a commercial product and one of the best known RHEL clones, although the most popular such clone is probably the free CentOS project. The CentOS developers are currently giving priority to completing their RHEL 5.6 clone, CentOS 5.6, so that systems running CentOS 5 can be updated to include the latest developments. The developers have slightly deferred cloning RHEL 6.0, which was released a few weeks before RHEL 5.6, and CentOS 6 will therefore probably be released a few weeks after CentOS 5.6.


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