The release candidate is available to a small group of strategic testing partners including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and independent software vendors (ISVs). Red Hat says this version is intended to become the developer's next flagship product. The release candidate includes "significant enhancements in performance, reliability, and security," the company said.
"We expect no further changes to the ABI or API that might otherwise affect application compatibility as we finalize Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and make it generally available later this year," said the Red Hat Linux Development Team, in a blog. "We encourage all of our ISV partners to enable our joint customers to experience the significant enhancements in performance, reliability, and security offered in this version of what is intended to become our new flagship platform by accelerating testing and final certification of ISV offerings on the release candidate."
The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 beta is available for i386, AMD 64, and Intel 64, System Z, and IBM Power 64-bit architectures.
The latest iteration of Enterprise Linux 6 includes an updated kernel and completed updated core technology stack, including user-space management tools. It also includes updated core applications such as httpd, Samba, and NFS. Virtualization is fully integrated and based on the KVM hypervisor. New features improve scalability, I/O performance, and deployment flexibility, and the application environment is consistent across physical and virtual systems, simplifying the adoption of virtualization.
To address power management, the operating system includes tickless kernel and improvements through the application stack that reduce wakeups; power consumption measurement by Powertop; power management (ASPM and ALPM); and adaptive system tuning by Tuned. In addition, the new beta includes comprehensive IPv6 support (for NSF4, CIFS, RFC 3775 mobility support, and ISATAP), FCoE, iSCSI, and a new and improved mac 802.11 wireless stack.
System-level enhancements via industry collaborations make the most of hardware reliability, availability, and serviceability and NUMA architectures, said Red Hat. Improvements in the kernel and user-space stack enable better utilization of the infrastructure, leading to improved application performance. In addition, the technology scales to the largest systems on the market, and features plenty of expansion capabilities for future growth. The system supports physical, virtual, and cloud deployments.
The beta features an improved scheduler, plus better resource management, in the kernel, via Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) and Control Groups (cgroups), which create a powerful means by which to allocate memory, process, and I/O resources between process groups, whether they are applications or virtual guests. The technology's ext4 file system supports larger file sizes and reduces repair times over ext3. XFS is a high-performance file system that supports large files and is optimized for large data transfers.
Red Hat's newest offering includes SELinux, which includes improved ease-of-use, application sandboxing, and increased coverage of system services. In addition, SSSD delivers unified access to identity and authentication services, and caching for off-line use. Lastly, ABRT is a new framework for the simple collection and reporting of bug information, and Red Hat made improvements to GCC version 4.4.3; glibc version 2.11.1, and GDB version 7.0.1.