Red Hat on Wednesday said it is extending the first phase of its product lifecycle support for Enterprise Linux, when the most technical support resources are made available, from three years to four.
That means that new hardware coming out at any time during the first four years of an Enterprise Linux lifecycle will be supported. That "full support" phase previously only lasted for three years.
Any release of Enterprise Linux is given a seven-year lifecycle of support, but the level of support drops back in the fifth year, then is reduced further in the sixth and seventh years.
For example, bug fixes are carried out most extensively in the first phase or Production 1 support. In second phase, or Production 2 -- the fifth year of support -- only the high priority or urgent bug fixes will be applied.
In the sixth and seventh years, or what Red Hat now calls Production 3 instead of "maintenance" support, only urgent or mission critical bug fixes will be added to Enterprise Linux.
The new phases apply to the current 5.2 release of Enterprise Linux and to all future releases, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux development team said in a blog Wednesday.
Needed security patches, on the other hand, will be applied at any time during the supported 7-year product lifecycle.
The development team explained: "We're doing this because we have noticed that vendors are confusing customers by using the same service-level names to mean different things. Customers are being misled by 'our Full Support is cheaper than their Full Support' messages, even though the actual features -- which are not mentioned -- differ widely."
Oracle is not named in the blog but has previously announced it is redistributing Red Hat Enterprise Linux under its own brand and said that it will charge less than Red Hat for technical support.