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Red Hat Explains New End of Life Policies for Its Mainstream Linux Distributions

Newsforge published a statement from Jeremy Hogan of Red Hat that explains Red Hat's recently announced End of Life Policy for their core Linux distributions. According to the article:

...As we worked on Red Hat Linux 8.0 we realized that Red Hat Linux's lifecycle no longer made much sense. This offering is increasingly aimed at providing easy access to leading edge open source technologies, which by definition evolve extremely rapidly. Our ability to support these rapidly changing projects for long periods of time is quite limited, and we wanted to provide realistic promises for both the level of support and the time period we can offer such support.

We also looked at our customer base and saw how rapidly our older products get upgraded. For example, about two thirds of our Red Hat Linux users currently run Red Hat Linux 7.3 or 8.0, and over 90% run 7.2, 7.3, or 8.0, all of which are less then {sic} a year old. These numbers strongly support our belief that while setting our lifecycle for these products at one year we're inconvienencing some of our users, this is a nonevent for the vast majority of them....

One of the more interesting aspects of this article is the comments that were posted in response. Here are a few examples:

  • "You will probably get a lot of heat over this decision, but it is a good one. RedHat is super easy to upgrade and EOL on RH is not like EOL on Windows...."
  • "People will upgrade willingly if they see substantial value in doing so. They will upgrade grudgingly, or not at all, if told to do so by a vendor (or accept the consequences of lack of support/compatibility)...."
  • "The problem here is that this policy makes RH very unatractive for use in Colo'd machines. I don't want to have to send a tech to visit each machine at remote offices or colo spaces once a year just to throw a CD in the drive, even if the upgrade process is easy...."
  • "So here I am trying to set up clusters and SANs, and the vendors that pay lip service to linux (HP/Compaq), don't even have host bus adapter drivers for 7.3. They only currently support 7.2. They sure as hell don't even mention Advanced Server...."

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