Ten year support for RHEL clones
Following Red Hat's announcement in late January that it was extending the standard support period for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 and 6 from seven to ten years, RHEL clones are now starting to follow suit.
Concrete information is so far available only from Oracle. While detailing changes to its ksplice strategy, it recently announced that Oracle Linux 5 and 6 will be supported for ten, rather than the originally planned eight years. According to Oracle's schedule, support for version 5 will terminate in March 2017 and for version 6 in March 2021. Oracle does not offer an equivalent to Red Hat's optional Extended Lifecycle Support (ELS), which adds a further three years of support beyond the standard period.
In response to enquiries, Karanbir Singh, one of the key developers behind CentOS, told The H's associates at heise open, that, assuming Red Hat continues to publish its source code as usual, CentOS is also aiming to provide ten year support for versions 5 and 6 of its distribution. However, he has not yet been able to obtain confirmation from Red Hat on how the company plans to treat its source code in the seventh to tenth years of support.
Red Hat has previously only made the source code packages (SRPMs) from which the distribution is built publicly available during the seven year standard support period. Source code for updates released during the Extended Lifecycle Support period is only available to customers who have purchased this service.
The main developers behind Scientific Linux have not yet responded to an enquiry made by heise open on Friday as to their support plans. The issue of whether there should be ten year support was briefly discussed on the developer mailing list in early February. Here again, the decision may well rest on whether Red Hat extends its current source code publication policy that it employs in years 0 to 6 to years 7 to 10. Whilst this is highly likely, it is by no means certain.