Red Hat Linux - Time is Running Out Published: Nov 04, 2003
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Red Hat's product line will be dropped by ending support for its products - what will you do as a webhost and what are other options?

Red Hat's product line will be dropped by ending support for its products - what will you do as a webhost and what are other options? Well they don't look that bright if you're using a control panel that relies heavily on the Red Hat OS as many web hosts do.

End of Life for Older Releases
From Red Hat's website:
Red Hat's policy for Red Hat Linux distributions is to provide maintenance for at least 12 months. At certain times, Red Hat may extend errata maintenance for certain popular releases of the operating system. End of Life dates for errata maintenance for currently supported products are listed below:
Basically all support and maintenance for these products will end on the following dates.

Red Hat Linux 9 (Shrike) April 30, 2004
Red Hat Linux 8.0 (Psyche) December 31, 2003
Red Hat Linux 7.3 (Valhalla) December 31, 2003
Red Hat Linux 7.2 (Enigma) December 31, 2003
Red Hat Linux 7.1 (Seawolf) December 31, 2003

New Options?
What we have now are two lines, which you can term commercial (Enterprise) and developer (Fedora). The strategy for the Enterprise line has been pretty clear for some time now; it's the paid-for line that started with high end products but which has expanded downwards to smaller servers and workstation. It makes money, and 'buy workstation' is what Szulik tells us the people who'd been previously buying RHL should do in the future (although as we suggested earlier on, he didn't make it entirely clear how close that future actually was).

Fedora - What is That?
While Fedora remains a nice option for you desktop, what about servers? I don't see to many Control Panel companies rushing out to support Fedora... I guess that's why they release the Enterprise edition but there's a big catch and it has to do with your wallet. Fedora is pulling out of RHL Red Hat has given Fedora a major credibility hill to climb.

Fedora is the free, development strand of the Red Hat offering, "sponsored" by Red Hat but intended to be out there in the community with support almost entirely from the community. It will have a release cycle of two to three a year, and Szulik puts it more bracingly than that still. "Anyone can put a package in so long as they maintain it," and fixes will "just roll forward to the next version," so it'll ship when it's done and keep shipping. It is therefore being pitched as a fast-moving, cutting edge line that's in continued development, and in that sense could be seen as a possible techie heaven.

Fedora's development and release cycles and its support mechanisms clearly aren't going to be any kind of answer for people who want to run a business on Linux, whereas Enterprise's more sedate cycles, support model and product lifespan are. This is certainly a convenient piece of ringfencing for Red Hat, but you can't really count it as entirely deliberate. Businesses want long, defined lifecycles, clear roadmaps, support, while enthusiasts want fast development, so the convenience factor is built into the two logical answers Red Hat has come up with.

The Enterprise Product Line
The Enterprise line is sold by annual subscription in 3 flavours, Enterprise WS ($179),  Linux ES ($349) and Enterprise AS ($1499). The Enterprise AS edition also has 2 choices, Standard or Premium where the Premium comes with more technical support from Red Hat and you'll definately pay for it at $2499.
Let's go into detail about each of the Enterprise Editions and see what they have under the hood.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS
This version is basically useless to anyone other than desktop users. It doesn't have any server applications and highlights the following:

Capabilities
Desktop Productivity:
Mail
Document Processing
Browsing
Instant Messaging

This pretty much makes the WS version useless for anyone trying to run a server, it's geared more towards workstations.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES
Now this flavour is actually geared more towards a server OS whereas the WS version is just a low end desktop system and shouldn't even be part of the "Enterprise" product line. "Core operating system and networking infrastructure for a wide range of entry-level and departmental server applications. It is ideally suited for network, file, print, mail, Web, and custom or packaged business applications."

Capabilities

  • Mail
  • File (SMB/NFS)
  • Print
  • Accelerated Web (tux)
  • Advanced Firewall (arptables)
  • Extended Remote Shell Access/Mgmt
  • DHCP
  • DNS Nameserver
  • Network Authentication (Kerberos)
  • News
  • Backup
  • Dump Server (Netdump)
  • Directory Server (LDAP)
  • SSL
  • Remote Boot/Image Server

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS
    This is this largest enterprise Linux solution. "It supports the largest commodity-architecture servers with up to 16 CPUs and 64GB** of main memory and is available with the highest levels of support. This makes Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS the ultimate solution for large departmental and datacenter servers."

    Capabilities
  • Mail
  • File (SMB/NFS)
  • Print
  • Accelerated Web (tux)
  • Advanced Firewall (arptables)
  • Extended Remote Shell Access/Mgmt
  • DHCP
  • DNS Nameserver
  • Network Authentication (Kerberos)
  • News
  • Backup
  • Dump Server (Netdump)
  • Directory Server (LDAP)
  • SSL
  • Remote Boot/Image Server

    Control Panels - Cpanel support
    We're all here wondering what are we going to do and better yet, what are our control panels going to support?
    Currently listed on Cpanel's website (Nov 4, 2003) the following support status was provided.
    Cpanel OS Support
    Cpanel OS Support Continued

    I don't see anything about "Fedora" or "Red Hat Enterprise" versions listed.
    There's no point in upgrading to the Enterprise line is Cpanel doesn't support it, so we asked Joshua Shaffer from Cpanel.

    WHG: Can you please give me information on if Cpanel will support the Red Hat
    Enterprise product line and any information on the Enterprise support and if
    you will also support Fedora?

    Cpanel - Joshua: "We will be supporting both RedHat Enterprise and Fedora at the end of the year."

    Well this is great news for Cpanel users, I'd just like to say thanks to Joshua for a speedy response as well :)


    Control Panels - Ensim support
    After asking Cpanel we thought we should ask the other big player in Linux control panels, Ensim, and see what they were willing to share with us.

    WHG: Can you please give me information on if Ensim Web Appliance will support the Red Hat
    Enterprise product line and any information on the Enterprise support and if
    you will also support Fedora?

    Ensim - Sheetal: "Ref to your query over the same, please be informed that, at present, Ensim WEBppliance Pro support Redhat 7.3. It does not support any other distribution of the same. Ensim does not support the Redhat Enterprise product range as well as Fedora."

    Well there you have it folks, currently Ensim does not support any other version of Red Hat except 7.3. This doesn't sound promising for anyone who actually wishes to keep their server updated and secure.

    Other Linux OS options?
    Well it might be time to move away from Red Hat because there are other distributions that are counting on Red Hat's large gap between Fedora and their Enterprise line, think grand canyon :)
    Cpanel doesn't officially say it will support the Enterprise line on their website but they do support FreeBSD as a stable version and others are in BETA development such as Debain. SUSE is no longer an option since aquired by Novell?

    I guess we'll just have to see how it plays out but at this time the best looking options would be Red Hat Enterprise ES if you would like to stick with the Red Hat distribution, otherwise take a look at FreeBSD and Debian - it's always nice to have other options.


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    Comments (5)

    • Gravatar - Bilal
      Bilal 20:09, November 26, 2003
      Ensim has announced that they will be releasing a new version of their Ensim Pro CP called 'Neo' - which will be based on RedHat Fedora Core 1.

      http://forum.ensim.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8596&highlight=Neo

      'mwu' the Ensim product manager details their plans there.
    • Gravatar - osfdeath
      osfdeath 22:35, January 16, 2004
      RedHat Fedora is now at level 1 (BETA) for cpanel :)
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      subramaniyan 08:36, August 2, 2005
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