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Updating the Enterprise Linux Life Cycle



Everyone,

as of today, the first phase of the life-cycle for every Red Hat
Enterprise Linux major release is being extended from three years to
four. During the first phase of the life cycle we provide support for
new hardware that is released by our partners, important new software
functionality, bug fixes and security patches.

In addition to extending the length of the first phase of the life
cycle, we are taking the opportunity to rename all three life-cycle
phases. We’re doing this because we have noticed that vendors are
confusing customers by using the same service-level names to mean
different things. Customers are being misled by “our Full Support is
cheaper than their Full Support” messages, even though the actual
features - which are not mentioned - differ widely. 

Here are the details about each life-cycle phase:

Production 1 Life Cycle Phase 

      * Formerly known as “Full Support”
      * Now four years instead of the former three years
      * During this phase customers can expect the following types of
        changes:
              * New hardware support
              * Enhanced software functionality (selected)
              * Bug fixes (medium, high or urgent priority levels)
              * Security patches (important or critical impact levels) 

Production 2 Life Cycle Phase

      * Formerly known as “Deployment” or “Transition” phase
      * Remains at a length of approximately one year
      * During this phase customers can expect the following types of
        changes:
              * New hardware support (very limited) 
              * Bug fixes (high or urgent priority levels) 
              * Security patches (important or critical impact levels) 

Production 3 Life Cycle Phase

      * Formerly known as “Maintenance”
      * Shortened to approximately two years in length from the previous
        three years 
      * During this phase customers can expect the following types of
        changes:
              * Bug fixes (only those few deemed mission-critical) 
              * Security patches (important or critical impact levels) 

Note that the total length of the life cycle, during which Red Hat
Enterprise Linux is fully supported, remains at seven years because
Phase 3 (formerly ‘Maintenance’ phase) has been shortened from three
years to two.

One immediate effect of the change is, that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.7
will *NOT* be the last release in the Enterprise Linux 4 life cycle to
enable new hardware: 4.8 is planned for early 2009 and *will* contain
limited hardware enablement. After that we will enter the Production 2
phase and newly added 4.9 release will then be the final, bug-fix only
minor release marking the transition into Production 3.

More information can be found here:
http://www.press.redhat.com/2008/07/23/support-for-red-hat-enterprise-linux-improved-through-enhanced-product-life-cycle/

and here:
http://www.redhat.com/security/updates/errata/


Thanks,

the Red Hat Enterprise Linux team.


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