Wednesday Jan 08, 2014

Oracle Linux: Free as in Speech AND Free as in Beer

One of the biggest benefits of Oracle Linux is that binaries, patches, errata, and source are always free. Even if you don’t have a support subscription, you can download and run exactly the same enterprise-grade distribution that is deployed in production by thousands of customers around the world. You can receive binaries and errata reliably and on schedule, and take advantage of the thousands of hours Oracle spends testing Oracle Linux every day. And, of course, Oracle Linux is completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so switching to Oracle Linux is easy.

CentOS is another Linux distribution that offers free binaries with Red Hat compatibility. Traditionally, CentOS has been used for Linux systems which do not require support in order to reduce or avoid expensive Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription costs. Recently, Red Hat announced it was “joining forces” with the CentOS project, hiring many the key CentOS developers, and “building a new CentOS.” This is a curious development given that the primary factors that have made CentOS popular are that it is free and Red Hat compatible.

It would be natural for existing CentOS users to wonder what Red Hat actually has in mind for the “new CentOS” when the FAQ accompanying the announcement states that Red Hat does not recommend CentOS for production deployment, is not recommending mixed CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments, will not support JBoss and other products on CentOS, and is not including CentOS in Red Hat’s developer offerings designed to create “applications for deployment into production environments.”

If Red Hat truly wished to satisfy the key requirements of most CentOS users, they would take a much simpler step: they would make Red Hat Enterprise Linux binaries, patches, and errata available for free download – just like Oracle already does.

Fortunately, no matter what future CentOS faces in Red Hat’s hands, Oracle Linux offers all users a single distribution for development, testing, and deployment, for free or with a paid support subscription. Oracle does not require customers to buy a subscription for every server running Oracle Linux (or any server running Oracle Linux). If a customer wants to pay for support for production systems only, that’s the customer's choice. The Oracle model is simple, economical, and well suited to environments with rapidly changing needs.

Oracle is focused on providing what we have since day one – a fast, reliable Linux distribution that is completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, coupled with enterprise class support, indemnity, and flexible support policies. If you are CentOS user, or a Red Hat user, why not download and try Oracle Linux today? You have nothing to lose – after all, it’s free!

Thursday Dec 05, 2013

Announcing Oracle Linux 6.5 including the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3

We're happy to announce the immediate availability of Oracle Linux 6 Update 5, the fifth update release for Oracle Linux 6. You can find the individual RPM packages in our public yum repository now; ISO installation images will be freely available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud soon.

Some highlights in this release include:

  • DTrace support has now been integrated in the default kernel and now supports user-space tracing of DTrace-enabled applications via the USDT provider.
  • Linux Containers (LXC) are now supported in the UEK R3.
  • The Btrfs file system now supports the send and receive subcommands that allow you to record the differences between two subvolumes, which can either be snapshots of the same subvolume or parent and child subvolumes. Btrfs now also supports replacing devices without unmounting or otherwise disrupting access to the file system.
  • The OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) 2.0 stack has been added, supporting a wide range of Infiniband protocols.
  • Paravirtualization support has been enabled for Oracle Linux guests on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.

For more details on these and other new features and changes in Oracle Linux 6 Update 5, please consult the Release Notes in the Oracle Linux Product Documentation Library.

Oracle Linux 6 Update 5 is the first Oracle Linux distribution that installs the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 (based on mainline Linux 3.8) by default on systems based on the x86_64 architecture. The UEK R3 has already been released and announced for previous Oracle Linux 6 versions via a dedicated yum repository in October. The Red Hat compatible kernel is also included for compatibility.

For a detailed list of notable changes and improvements in UEKR3, please check the Release Notes for Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3.

As usual, Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge and updates and errata are freely available. For support, you are free to decide which of your systems you want to obtain a support subscription for, and at what level each system should be supported. 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 them up-to-date and secure.

Read the press release.

Monday Oct 21, 2013

Announcing Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux

We are excited to announce the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux 6. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 (UEK R3) is Oracle's third major supported release of its heavily tested and optimized Linux kernel for Oracle Linux 6 on the x86_64 architecture.

UEK R3 is based on mainline Linux version 3.8.13. Some notable highlights of this release include:

  • Inclusion of DTrace for Linux into the kernel (no longer a separate kernel image). DTrace for Linux now supports probes for user-space statically defined tracing (USDT) in programs that have been modified to include embedded static probe points
  • Production support for Linux containers (LXC) which were previously released as a technology preview
  • Btrfs file system improvements (subvolume-aware quota groups, cross-subvolume reflinks, btrfs send/receive to transfer file system snapshots or incremental differences, file hole punching, hot-replacing of failed disk devices, device statistics)
  • Improved support for Control Groups (cgroups) 
  • TCP fast open (TFO) can speed up the opening of successive TCP connections between two endpoints
  • FUSE file system performance improvements on NUMA systems
  • Support for the Intel Ivy Bridge (IVB) processor family
  • Integration of the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) 2.0 stack, supporting a wide range of Infinband protocols including updates to Oracle's Reliable Datagram Sockets (RDS)
  • Numerous driver updates in close coordination with our hardware partners
UEK R3 uses the same versioning model as the mainline Linux kernel version. Unlike in UEK R2 (which identifies itself as version "2.6.39", even though it is based on mainline Linux 3.0.x), "uname" returns the actual version number (3.8.13).

For further details on the new features, changes and any known issues, please consult the Release Notes.

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 and related packages can be installed using the yum package management tool on Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 or newer, both from the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and our public yum server. Please follow the installation instructions in the Release Notes for a detailed description of the steps involved.

The kernel source tree will also available via the git source code revision control system from https://oss.oracle.com/git/?p=linux-uek3-3.8.git

If you would like to discuss your experiences with Oracle Linux and UEK R3, we look forward to your feedback on our public Oracle Linux Forum.

Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Public yum now powered by Akamai

The availability of free updates and errata has significantly increased the popularity of Oracle Linux. According to a recent Gartner Study from March 2013, Oracle Linux is placed in the top three in the Linux server operating system market, growing more than 80 percent year-over-year in 2012, which outpaced the overall Linux server operating system market growth.

This popularity was also reflected in our download numbers – recently, we were serving  over 80 TB worth of data each month, and this number keeps on growing. In order to ensure continued satisfaction with this free service, we now switched the US-based public-yum.oracle.com server to use the Akamai content delivery network for distributing all the available RPM packages for Oracle Linux globally.

This increases the performance for obtaining updates and security fixes for Oracle Linux – no matter where you are in the world. With the help of the Akamai CDN, the download experience will now be similar, regardless of your geographic location.

Please note that you need to connect to the public yum service by host name. If your yum clients are configured to access the public yum server by its public IP address, you won't benefit from increase in performance, as Akamai uses DNS to redirect the load. Please check your configurations accordingly!

Thursday Feb 28, 2013

Announcing Oracle Linux 6.4

The Oracle Linux team is pleased to announce the availability of Oracle Linux 6.4, the fourth update release for Oracle Linux 6. The individual RPM packages have already been published from our public yum repository and ISO images will soon be available from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Oracle Linux 6.4 includes new features and improvements, most notably a new version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. For further details, please see the Oracle Linux 6.4 Release Notes.

Oracle Linux customers also have access to a number of recently announced unique features/benefits, including:

Support for XFS file system: Today we also announced support for XFS file system in Oracle Linux. It is now available for customers with Premier Support subscriptions using Oracle Linux 6. Read the XFS support blog article for more details.

Ksplice offline client: We recently announced a new feature in our Ksplice service, known as the Ksplice offline client. Ksplice provides zero downtime updates for your kernel and now this new option eliminates the requirement to have a direct connection to the internet to apply Ksplice patches. Read more details in Wim Coekaerts’ blog and watch this video describing updating and patching in Oracle Linux.

DTrace for Oracle Linux: Another new addition is the general availability of DTrace for Oracle Linux. DTrace is a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework available to Oracle Linux customers. It is available to download from ULN for supported customers. 

Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge, including updates and errata which are also freely available.

Thursday Mar 22, 2012

Free Updates and Errata for Oracle Linux

ISO images of the Oracle Linux installation media as well as individual binary RPMs (and the sources) of major and minor releases (Updates) have always been freely available for download, use and distribution, ever since we started the Oracle Linux support program.

We're now taking this a step further: in addition to the above, we will now also provide updated packages or errata for free from separate yum repositories on http://public-yum.oracle.com. If you would like to keep your Oracle Linux system up to date, you can now do so by subscribing your system to the respective "_latest" repository for your distribution, e.g. "ol6_latest" for Oracle Linux 6. See the installation instructions on the public yum front page and the "How to subscribe to the free Oracle Linux errata yum repositories" article on the OTN Garage blog for details on how enable these repositories and to obtain the updates.

If you would like to also receive free updates to the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2, make sure to enable the "[ol6_UEK_latest]" repository as well - updates to the kernel will be made available from this separate channel until it is included in the next set of installation media.

Now what does this mean for Oracle Network Support? Getting access to the updates and errata was just one part of the offering – the following benefits will be available with an Oracle Linux Support Subscription only:

Wim also published a blog post with his take on the announcement.

Tuesday Jan 03, 2012

Reminder: OTN Sys Admin Day in Salt Lake City on January 18th

Just a friendly reminder: this year too, we'll continue this series of free one-day events.

OTN Sys Admin Days are like OTN's Developer Days, but we focus on the Sys Admin with two parallel, hands-on Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux tracks. These are live classroom events and you'll need to bring your own laptop to follow the practical exercises that we will go through in a VirtualBox environment.

The Linux track will cover topics like package management with RPM and yum, storage management with LVM2 and Linux RAID as well as learning the basics of managing the Btrfs file system. The Solaris track will cover the ZFS file system, Solaris containers and security (roles, SMF).

The next OTN Sys Admin Day will take place in Salt Lake City (UT), on January 18th, 8:00am-4:00pm.

Attendance is free, but a registration is required – reserve your spot now by following this link! We look forward to your participation.

Thursday Dec 15, 2011

Oracle Linux 6.2 has been released

We're glad to announce the immediate availability of Oracle Linux 6 Update 2, including the latest build of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. For a detailed list of changes, features and known issues, please see the release notes.

Installable binary and source ISO images will be available on the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud shortly. As usual, these ISO images are freely available and distributable, so please spread the word and the code!

The binary RPM packages are available on the Unbreakable Linux Network and our public yum repository.

Thursday Aug 25, 2011

OTN Sys Admin Days - Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux (Sep. 8th, Sacramento, CA)

The second OTN Sys Admin Day will take place on Thursday, September 08, 2011. It will be from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel (1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814).

Similar to the very successful OTN Developer Days, this is an event especially for system administrators. Attendance is free and there will be two parallel tracks about Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris. The sessions will be very hands-on and participants will have to bring their own laptops to perform the exercises. We'll be using virtual appliances running in VirtualBox for the labs, so make sure you have it installed already when you arrive!

Below is the planned agenda for this event. This is a free event and the number of seats is limited, so please register soon!

Update: If you can't make it to Sacramento, we have another sysadmin day scheduled for September 22nd in Seattle (WA). Check this page for more details and registration!

Agenda

8:00 a.m.

Registration
System Shakedown (optional)

9:00 a.m.

Overview of Oracle Operating Systems


Solaris Track
Linux Track
9:30 a.m. Overview of Oracle Solaris Overview of Oracle Linux
10:00 a.m. Hands-On Lab: Oracle Solaris ZFS Hands-On Lab: Package Management and Configuration
11:30 a.m. Hands-On Lab: Virtualization Hands-On Lab: Storage Management

1:00 p.m.

Lunch

2:00 p.m.

Hands-On Lab: Image Packaging System (IPS)
Hands-On Lab: BTRFS

3:00 p.m.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Lecture

4:00 p.m.

Discussion: Most Pressing Sys Admin Issues
Wrap-up

If you can't make it to Sacramento or Seattle, don't worry – there will be many more of these events coming up! For example, there is another one scheduled for January 18th in Salt Lake City. A registration page for this one should be out shortly. Check this page for an up to date listing of upcoming developer and sysadmin days!

Monday Jun 06, 2011

Oracle Linux 6.1 ISO images now available for download

Just a quick followup to the previous blog post: ISO images for Oracle Linux 6.1 are now available for download from E-Delivery as well.

Oracle Linux 6.1 is free to download, use and distribute under the terms of the GPL. So please give it a try and let us know what you think!

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