Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a Linux distribution developed by Red Hat and targeted toward the commercial market. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is released in server versions for x86, x86-64, Itanium, PowerPC and IBM System z, and desktop versions for x86 and x86-64. All of the Red Hat’s official support and training, together with the Red Hat Certification Program, focuses on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is often abbreviated to RHEL, although this is not an official designation.

The first version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to bear the name originally came onto the market as “Red Hat Linux Advanced Server”. In 2003 Red Hat rebranded Red Hat Linux Advanced Server to “Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS”, and added two more variants, Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES and Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS.

Red Hat uses strict trademark rules to restrict free re-distribution of their officially supported versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but still freely provides its source code. Third-party derivatives can be built and redistributed by stripping away non-free components like Red Hat’s trademarks. Examples include community-supported distributions like CentOS and Scientific Linux, and commercial forks like Oracle Linux, which does not offer 100% binary compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, because Oracle uses a non-standard process to clear the Red Hat brand.

Version history

RHEL 2.1

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 AS (Pensacola), 26 March 2002, uses Linux kernel 2.4.9-e.3
    • Update 1, 14 February 2003 (kernel 2.4.9-e.12)
    • Update 2, 29 May 2003 (kernel 2.4.9-e.24)
    • Update 3, 19 December 2003 (kernel 2.4.9-e.34)
    • Update 4, 21 April 2004 (kernel 2.4.9-e.40)
    • Update 5, 18 August 2004 (kernel 2.4.9-e.49)
    • Update 6, 13 December 2004 (kernel 2.4.9-e.57)
    • Update 7, 28 April 2005
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 ES (Panama), May 2003

RHEL 3

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Taroon), 22 October 2003, uses Linux kernel 2.4.21-4
    • Update 1, 16 January 2004 (kernel 2.4.21-9)
    • Update 2, 12 May 2004 (kernel 2.4.21-15)
    • Update 3, 3 September 2004 (kernel 2.4.21-20)
    • Update 4, 12 December 2004 (kernel 2.4.21-27)
    • Update 5, 18 May 2005 (kernel 2.4.21-32)
    • Update 6, 28 September 2005 (kernel 2.4.21-37)
    • Update 7, 17 March 2006 (kernel 2.4.21-40)
    • Update 8, 20 July 2006 (kernel 2.4.21-47)
    • Update 9, 15 June 2007 (kernel 2.4.21-50)

RHEL 4

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (Nahant), 15 February 2005, uses Linux kernel 2.6.9-5
    • 4.1, also termed Update 1, 8 June 2005 (kernel 2.6.9-11)
    • 4.2, also termed Update 2, 5 October 2005 (kernel 2.6.9-22)
    • 4.3, also termed Update 3, 12 March 2006 (kernel 2.6.9-34)
    • 4.4, also termed Update 4, 10 August 2006 (kernel 2.6.9-42)
    • 4.5, also termed Update 5, 1 May 2007 (kernel 2.6.9-55)
    • 4.6, also termed Update 6, 15 November 2007 (kernel 2.6.9-67)
    • 4.7, also termed Update 7, 29 July 2008 (kernel 2.6.9-78)
    • 4.8, also termed Update 8, 19 May 2009 (kernel 2.6.9-89)
    • 4.9, also termed Update 9, 16 February 2011 (kernel 2.6.9-100)

RHEL 5

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (Tikanga), 15 March 2007, uses Linux kernel 2.6.18-8
    • 5.1, also termed Update 1, 7 November 2007 (kernel 2.6.18-53)
    • 5.2, also termed Update 2, 21 May 2008 (kernel 2.6.18-92)
    • 5.3, also termed Update 3, 20 January 2009 (kernel 2.6.18-128)
    • 5.4, also termed Update 4, 2 September 2009 (kernel 2.6.18-164)
    • 5.5, also termed Update 5, 30 March 2010 (kernel 2.6.18-194)
    • 5.6, also termed Update 6, 13 January 2011 (kernel 2.6.18-238)
    • 5.7, also termed Update 7, 21 July 2011 (kernel 2.6.18-274)
    • 5.8, also termed Update 8, 20 February 2012 (kernel 2.6.18-308)
    • 5.9, also termed Update 9, 7 January 2013 (kernel 2.6.18-348)
    • 5.10, also termed Update 10, 1 October 2013 (kernel 2.6.18-371)
    • 5.11, also termed Update 11, 16 September 2014 (kernel 2.6.18-398)

RHEL 6

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was forked from Fedora 12 and contains many backported features from Fedora 13 and 14.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (Santiago), November 10, 2010; 6 years ago, uses Linux kernel 2.6.32-71
    • 6.1, also termed Update 1, 19 May 2011 (kernel 2.6.32-131)
    • 6.2, also termed Update 2, 6 December 2011 (kernel 2.6.32-220)
    • 6.3, also termed Update 3, 20 June 2012 (kernel 2.6.32-279)
    • 6.4, also termed Update 4, 21 February 2013 (kernel 2.6.32-358)
    • 6.5, also termed Update 5, 21 November 2013 (kernel 2.6.32-431)
    • 6.6, also termed Update 6, 13 October 2014 (kernel 2.6.32-504)
    • 6.7, also termed Update 7, 22 July 2015 (kernel 2.6.32-573)
    • 6.8, also termed Update 8, 10 May 2016 (kernel 2.6.32-642)
    • 6.9, also termed Update 9, March 21, 2017; (kernel 2.6.32-696)

RHEL 7

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (Maipo) is based on Fedora 19, upstream Linux kernel 3.10, systemd 208, and GNOME 3.8 (rebased to GNOME 3.14 in RHEL 7.2). The first beta was announced on 11 December 2013, and a release candidate was made available on 15 April 2014. On June 10, 2014 Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 was officially released.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 (Maipo), June 10, 2014; 2 years ago, uses Linux kernel 3.10.0-123
    • 7.1, also termed Update 1, March 5, 2015; (kernel 3.10.0-229)
    • 7.2, also termed Update 2, November 19, 2015; (kernel 3.10.0-327)
    • 7.3, also termed Update 3, November 3, 2016; (kernel 3.10.0-514)