Red Hat releases beta of Enterprise Linux 5.3
Red Hat has released the beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.3 to download via the Red Hat Network. The beta shows that the upcoming third collection of updates for RHEL5 will again add numerous bug fixes as well including some extended functionality to the corporate focused Linux.
The distribution's basic components tend to largely remain the same as those of previous RHEL5 versions. Like RHEL 5.0, for example, the beta contains Linux kernel 2.6.18. The detailed release email and the extensive release notes indicate that the Red Hat developers are continuously expanding the kernel to ensure, for example, its compatibility with current hardware; the beta is the first to offer drivers like ath5k (Wi-Fi chips by Atheros), rt2x00 (Wi-Fi chips by RaLink), rtl818x (Wi-Fi chips by Realtek), uvcvideo (USB webcams by various manufacturers), hp-ilo (HP server management) and r8169 (Realtek Gigabit LAN chips). A large number of other drivers including numerous storage and network drivers have also been updated.
Clusters and virtualisation have seen many improvements; the beta is, for example, the first to offer the paravirt driver for the KVM (Kernel Based Virtual Machine) virtualisation technology now since Red Hat acquired Qumranet. The technology improves the integration of RHEL 5.3 into the oVirt based embedded hypervisor which is currently in development at Red Hat. For desktop PCs and notebooks, Red Hat included some additional new graphics drivers and a pre-release version of NetworkManager 0.7. It is also now possible to set up encrypted root partitions during installation. Support has been added to the kernel and dmraid for HostRAID levels 4, 5, and 10 available with many modern mainboard chipsets.
The beta phase of RHEL 5.3 will run till January 6 with the final version typically released a few weeks after that.