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News, tips, partners, and perspectives for the Oracle Linux operating system and upstream Linux kernel work

  • August 8, 2017

Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 General Availability

Scott Lynn
Director of Product Management, Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris

Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 for x86-64 servers.

The Oracle Linux operating system is an open foundation for the cloud. It is developed and extensively tested with demanding enterprise workloads like Oracle Database as well as many third-party applications in public and private clouds.

While Oracle Linux is open source and includes standard technologies, tools, and features, Oracle extends the release to deliver a complete, integrated, and supported platform for performance-driven production workloads. In addition to the Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK), Oracle supplies the optimized Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux (UEK), which was first developed to support highly scalable Oracle Database, applications and Oracle Engineered Systems. Oracle provides flexible and cost-effective Linux support and the updates and software releases are free to download and distribute.

With the release of Oracle Linux 7 Update 4, we continue to build on the proven enterprise and cloud capabilities of Oracle Linux, allowing you to optimize for today, and prepare for tomorrow.

What's New

Enhancements to Oracle Linux 7 included in this update are included for several key areas, including Security, support for Cloud and Container environments, and Performance.

Security

Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 continues to enhance your security stance with several new capabilities, including:

  • UEFI Secure Boot

A system in Secure Boot mode loads only those boot loaders and kernels that have been signed by Oracle. Oracle has updated the kernel and grub2 packages to sign them with a valid Extended Validation (EV) certificate. The EV certificate has been compiled into the shim binary and has been signed by Microsoft.

  • openSSH now uses SHA-2

By default, the algorithm for public key signatures that is used in this release is SHA-2. SHA-1 is available for backward compatibility purposes only.

  • payload_gpgcheck option to yum

Enhances security during installation. The new payload_gpgcheck option enables yum to perform a GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) signature check on the payload sections of packages. This capability provides enhanced security and integrity when installing packages.

  • New NBDE security packages

NBDE enables you to encrypt root volumes of hard drives on physical machines without requiring you to manually enter a password when the systems are rebooted.

  • New usbguard package

The USBGuard software framework provides system protection against intrusive USB devices by implementing basic whitelisting and blacklisting capabilities that are based on device attributes.

Cloud and Containers Enhancements

Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 continues enhancing our customers' cloud and container deployments.

  • Btrfs

Btrfs is the ideal filesystem for supporting containers in the cloud. We continue to support and enhance Btrfs in Oracle Linux 7 with Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 4 allowing you to continue to use Btrfs for your container cloud deployments.

  • User Namespace

Prevents container users from being able to gain the same privileges at the global level by allowing separation of the container namespace from the underlying operating system namespace.

  • Spacewalk

Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 makes it even easier to install and add a system to Spacewalk by not requiring the spacewalk client to be installed before registering with the Spacewalk server.

Performance Enhancements

Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 continues to improve our already proven leadership in enterprise performance. Notable changes include:

  • Improved operating system scalability and performance

Replaced ticket spin locks with queued spin locks which provide better scalability under contention and higher performance overall.

  • Addition of http-parser performance package

http-parser is designed for high performance web applications by eliminating buffering, system calls and allowing interrupts.

  • Addition of libfastjson package

libfastjson is a limited feature set JSON library that provides significantly improved performance, compared to json-c.

Compatibility

Oracle Linux maintains user space compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which is independent of the kernel version that underlies the operating system. Existing applications in user space will continue to run unmodified on the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 4 (UEK R4) and no re-certifications are needed for RHEL certified applications.

Oracle Linux 7 Update 4 ships with the following kernel packages:

kernel-3.10.0-693.el7

Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK)

kernel-uek-4.1.12-94.3.9.el7uek

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 4 update 4 (UEK R4u4), which is the default kernel.

The kernel source code for the shipped kernel is available after the initial release via a public git source code repository at https://oss.oracle.com/git/?p=linux-uek.git.

More Information

For more details on this and other new features and changes in Oracle Linux 7 Update 4, please consult the release notes in the Oracle Linux Product Documentation Library.

Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge and updates and errata are freely available. Some updates may require Oracle Linux Premier or Extended Support.

For support, you decide which of your systems require a support subscription. This makes Oracle Linux an ideal choice for your development, testing and production systems. You decide which support coverage is the best for each of your systems individually, while keeping all of your systems up-to-date and secure.

Customers with Oracle Linux Premier Support also receive support for additional Linux programs, including Ceph Storage, Oracle Linux software collections, Oracle OpenStack and zero-downtime kernel updates using Oracle Ksplice.

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