Kernel Versions

Version 3.6.7 of the Linux kernel was released on November 17th, which might make users of Red Hat Enterprise or CentOS wonder why they’re still running 2.6.x versions of the kernel.

Ubuntu jumped to version 3 in October 2011, with it’s 11.10 release, and Red Hat’s own desktop distro, Fedora, currently uses version 3.3.4. So, why does Red Hat Enterprise continue to use the older kernel?

Maturity and stability are the two most important considerations. Enterprise clients do not generally require the bleeding edge refinements of the newer kernels, and a highly-available, crash-free environment is usually the priority. Using 2.6.32 (the base enterprise-level version for RH 6) provides both a stable base for the OS and allows greater support for legacy applications,

The 2.6 kernel versions supplied are not the vanilla, upstream versions of the kernel either. As with with the backport patching they do for other applications supplied with the distro, Red Hat’s developers have continually patched and maintained these kernels since release, fixing any security issues and improving stability.

So you can be assured that, despite the older version numbers, the kernels supplied with Red Hat Enterprise and CentOS are fully secure and maintain a high level of stability and compatibility.

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