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Red Hat Delays Enterprise Linux 5 Beta

The expected July testing has been pushed back until September, but the official release is still slated for the end of the year.

Red Hat has delayed the beta of its Enterprise Linux 5 upgrade until later this summer but says the upgrade will ship by end of year as promised.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 was slated to move into beta testing in July but that has been pushed back until September, sources close to the company said. See CRN Online

One company spokeswoman said the beta is now expected to be released by the end of summer. She said the finished 5.0 platform remains on track to be released by the end of 2006.

The pushback is not that significant but irritating to some at Red Hat, especially as rival Novell prepares to once again touts the recent release of its SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 platform at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo this week, said one source close to Red Hat.

"The beta is definitely delayed," said the source, who asked not to be named.

The source said the reason for the delay was a technical snag engineers originally thought was a memory corruption issue related to Xen but later identified as a kernel debugging issue. It is now being fixed. Xen is the open source virtualization engine that Red Hat and Novell have both integrated into their latest Linux distributions.

The delay will push back the ship date of RHEL 5 a bit but nevertheless it won't affect the company's targeted release timeframe, promised for the second half of the year. "It's likely to be sometime in the fourth quarter, close to December," said the source.

Observers said Red Hat is under the gun to ship RHEL5 but getting it right is more important than getting it out the door.

"Xen is obviously extremely important for Red Hat, and if RHEL 5 has been delayed then I would almost certainly point to Xen as the primary reason for any delay," said Andrew Hudsocn, author of Fedora 5 Unleashed. "Now that Novell have got SLED out of the door complete with Xen, Red Hat is under pressure to match if not exceed their primary rival's position."

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