Red Hat Linux 1.0 was released on November 3, 1994. It was originally called "Red Hat Commercial Linux".
It was the first Linux distribution to use the RPM Package Manager as its packaging format, and over time has served as the starting point for several other distributions, such as Mandriva Linux and Yellow Dog Linux.
Since 2003, Red Hat has discontinued the Red Hat Linux line in favor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for enterprise environments.
Fedora, developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat, is the free version best suited for home use.
Red Hat Linux 9, the final release, hit its official end-of-life on 2004-04-30, although updates were published for it through 2006 by the Fedora Legacy project until that shut down in early 2007.
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.7, a new update of the legacy 5.x series: "Red Hat today announced the general availability of the seventh update to its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7. This release is important for our customers who wish to remain on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 while gaining some of the benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Key highlights of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 include: support for new hardware delivered in 2011, including Intel, AMD, POWER and IBM System z; encompasses processors, chipsets and new drivers for storage, networking, and graphics; introducing Subscription Manager to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 - enables improved tracking of subscriptions and usage; first introduced in RHEL 6.1...."
Read the release announcement, the press release and the release notes for further details.
The new installation DVD images are available to existing RHEL subscribers via Red Hat Network.
• 2011-07-21: Distribution Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7
• 2011-05-26: Development Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 Beta
• 2011-05-19: Distribution Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1
• 2011-03-22: Development Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 Beta
• 2011-02-16: Distribution Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.9
• 2011-01-13: Distribution Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6
Red Hat is the leader in development, deployment, and management of Linux and open source solutions for Internet infrastructure - ranging from embedded devices to secure Web servers. Red Hat was founded in 1994 by visionary entrepreneurs Bob Young and Marc Ewing. Open source is the foundation of our business model. It represents a fundamental shift in how software is created. The code that makes up the software is available to anyone. Developers who use the software are free to improve the software.
The result: rapid innovation. Red Hat solutions combine Red Hat Linux, developer and embedded technologies, training, management services, technical support. We deliver this open source innovation to our customers via an Internet platform called Red Hat Network. Red Hat is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
Version 3.0.3 was one of the first Linux distributions to support Executable and Linkable Format instead of the older a.out format.
Red Hat Linux introduced a graphical installer called Anaconda, intended to be easy to use for novices, and which has since been adopted by some other Linux distributions. It also introduced a built-in tool called Lokkit for configuring the firewall capabilities.
In version 6 Red Hat moved to glibc 2.1, egcs-1.2, and to the 2.2 kernel. It also introduced Kudzu, a software library for automatic discovery and configuration of hardware.
Versions 7 was released in preparation for the 2.4 kernel, although the first release still used the stable 2.2 kernel. Glibc was updated to version 2.1.92, which was a beta of the upcoming version 2.2 and Red Hat used a patched version of GCC from CVS that they called "2.96". The decision to ship an unstable GCC version was due to GCC 2.95's bad performance on non-i386 platforms, especially DEC Alpha. Newer GCCs had also improved support for the C++ standard, which caused much of the existing code not to compile.
In particular, the use of a non-released version of GCC caused some criticism, ie. from Linus Torvalds' and The GCC Steering Committee; Red Hat was forced to defend their decision.GCC 2.96 failed to compile the Linux kernel, and some other software used in Red Hat, due to stricter checks. It also had an incompatible C++ ABI with other compilers. The distribution included a previous version of GCC for compiling the kernel, called "kgcc".
As of Red Hat Linux 8.0, UTF-8 was enabled as the default character encoding for the system. This had little effect on English-speaking users, but enabled much easier internationalisation and seamless support for multiple languages, including ideographic, bi-directional and complex script languages along with European languages. However, this did cause some negative reactions among existing Western European users, whose legacy ISO-8859-based setups were broken by the change.
Version 8.0 was also the second to include the Bluecurve desktop theme. It used a common theme for GNOME-2 and KDE 3.0.2 desktops, as well as OpenOffice-1.0. KDE members did not appreciate the change, claiming that it was not in the best interests of KDE.
Version 9 supported the Native POSIX Thread Library, which was ported to the 2.4 series kernels by Red Hat.
Red Hat Linux lacked many features due to possible copyright and patent problems. For example, MP3 support was disabled in both Rhythmbox and XMMS; instead, Red Hat recommended using Ogg Vorbis, which has no patents. MP3 support, however, could be installed afterwards, although royalties are required everywhere MP3 is patented.
Support for Microsoft's NTFS file system was also missing, but could be freely installed as well.
The various Red Hat Linux versions have little different Errata Support Policies
- Red Hat Linux 6.2E (Zoot), 27 March 2000
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 AS (Pensacola), 2002-03-26
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 ES (Panama), May 2003
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Taroon), 22 October 2003. Uses Linux 2.4.21 (Release notes also for updates)
- Update 1, 2004-01-16
- Update 2, 2004-05-18
- Update 3, 2004-09-03
- Update 4, 2004-12-21
- Update 5, 2005-05-20
- Update 6, 2005-09-28
- Update 7, 2006-03-15
- Update 8, 2006-07-20
- Update 9, 2007-06-15
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (Nahant), 2005-02-15. Uses Linux 2.6.9
- 4.1, also known as Update 1, 2005-06-09 (Release Notes)
- 4.2, also known as Update 2, 2005-10-05 (Release Notes)
- 4.3, also known as Update 3, 2006-03-07 (Release Notes)
- 4.4, also known as Update 4, 2006-08-11 (Release Notes)
- 4.5, also known as Update 5, 2007-05-01 (Release Notes)
- 4.6, also known as Update 6, 2007-11-15 (Release Notes)
- 4.7, also known as Update 7, 2008-07-24 (Release Notes)
- 4.8, also known as Update 8, 2009-05-18 (Release Notes)
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (Tikanga), 2007-03-14. Uses Linux 2.6.18 (Release notes)
- 5.1, also known as Update 1, 2007-11-07 (Release Notes)
- 5.2, also known as Update 2, 2008-05-21 (Release Notes, single file)
- 5.3, also known as Update 3, 2009-01-20 (Release Notes)
- 5.4, also known as Update 4, 2009-09-02 (Release Notes)
- 5.5, also known as Update 5, 2010-03-30 (Release Notes)
- 5.6 also known as Update 6, 2010-11-09 (Release Notes)