Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Tags linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is Red Hat's subscription-based, vendor-supported Linux distribution targeted toward the commercial and academic markets. It is designed to be stable and secure over a long lifetime, up to 13 years (10 years standard) for each version. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is licensed by the University of Michigan and is the only Linux distribution fully supported by LSA Technology Services.

While Red Hat uses strict trademark rules to restrict free re-distribution of their officially supported versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat freely provides the source code for the distribution's software even for software where this is not mandatory. As a result, several distributors have created re-branded and/or community-supported rebuilds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that can legally be made available without official support from Red Hat. CentOS, Scientific Linux, and Oracle Linux aim to provide 100% compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat used to distribute "Red Hat Linux." After Red Hat Linux version 9, Red Hat retooled their offerings and released the first RHEL as version 2.1. The information about Red Hat Linux shown below is mainly of historical value.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle is detailed on their web site.

Red Hat provides support and maintenance over stated time periods for the major versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (such as versions 7 or 8). The Life Cycle allows customers and partners to effectively plan, deploy and support Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The Life Cycle identifies the various levels of maintenance for each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux over a total period of ten years from the initial release date, which is often referred to as the general availability date.

The three life-cycle phases for RHEL 5, 6, and 7 are:

  • Full Support (formerly called Production 1) for approximately 6 years
  • Maintenance Support 1 (formerly called Production 2) for approximately 1 year
  • Maintenance Support 2 (formerly called Production 3) for approximately 3 years

The two life-cycle phases for RHEL 8:

  • Full Support for 5 years
  • Maintenance Support for 5 years

Security errata will be made available during the entire 10-year life cycle. You should expect Red Hat to stop providing new software functionality at the end of the Full phase, and enablement of new hardware ends at the end of the Production 2 phase. Although security-only updates will continue for three more years, this is effectively a seven-year life cycle for any reasonable expectation of compatibility with new hardware. At the end of Maintenance Support, unless you buy Extended Life Cycle Support (providing three more years of security updates) from Red Hat, you will be required to remove your now-insecure system from the network or arrange to isolate it. (Note that SPG requirements or compliance with LSA security policy  will take precedence over policies set by LSA Technology Services regional support teams.)

Currently supported versions

Version General
End of
Full Support
End of
Maintenance Support 1
End of
Maintenance Support
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 May 2019 May 2024   May 2029
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, Server and Workstation 2014-06-10 2019 Q4 2020 Q4 2024-06-30
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6,
 including Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop
 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
2010-11-10 2016 Q2 2017 Q2 2020-11-30

End of Life for older versions

Unless they happen to be under Extended Life Cycle Support (ELS), none of these versions are currently permitted on the university network. (We are not aware of anyone who has purchased ELS.) If you have a system running one of these operating systems, please contact LSA Technology Services to arrange an upgrade to a supported version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Version EOL date
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 2017-03-31 (or 2020-11-30 with ELS)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 2012-02-29 (or 2017-03-31 with ELS)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 2010-10-31 (or 2014-01-30 with ELS)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 2009-05-31
Red Hat Linux 9 (Shrike) 2004-04-30
Red Hat Linux 8.0 (Psyche) 2003-12-31
Red Hat Linux 7.3 (Valhalla) 2003-12-31
Red Hat Linux 7.2 (Enigma) 2003-12-31
Red Hat Linux 7.1 (Seawolf) 2003-12-31


Article ID: 1678
Wed 5/27/20 9:58 AM
Tue 6/23/20 11:30 AM