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It’s hard to believe that we introduced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) into the market more than six years ago. RHEL 7 balanced the enterprise need for stability and compatibility with that of tangible innovation. At general availability, we believe that we dispelled the myth that the operating system is "just a commodity" and redefined the Linux operating system.

It has been very gratifying to see our customers embrace RHEL 7 as their standard operating system platform, with the platform setting into motion key innovations that we now know to be critical to meet the needs of the modern data center. It also laid a solid foundation for RHEL 8, our most recent major version, to continue to support our ecosystem to expand to hybrid cloud environments by iterating on features to support cloud-native computing, containers and automation at scale. RHEL 8 owes a debt of gratitude to its older sibling because it helped draft the blueprint to how Red Hat and, broadly, the IT industry approach the operating system today.

RHEL 7 introduced many innovations that we take for granted today as fundamental components of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, including::

  • Red Hat Software Collections which provide the latest, stable runtimes and development tools for modern application development and deployment. RHEL 8 has built on the success of Red Hat Software Collections and introduced Application Streams - the next generation of packaging for such content.

  • RHEL System Roles make it easier to perform complex or routine system tasks, like establishing a storage system. RHEL 8 has expanded the scope to include logging and session recording.

  • Red Hat container tools also have RHEL 7 to thank for continued evolution. With RHEL 7, we introduced Docker, the latest container technology at the time. Building on our experiences with Linux containers, we’ve designed the next wave of open standards-based container development tools in the form of Buildah, Skopeo and Podman with RHEL 8.

  • systemd, the next generation of system initialization framework, greatly improved on the prior generation System V init by enabling more finely-grained controls for process management. Introduced in RHEL 7, it is now the standard system initialization mechanism for most Linux distributions today.

  • the Red Hat Enterprise Linux web console which offers an integrated graphical console to manage basic system tasks.The RHEL web console has helped to lower the barrier of entry into the Linux system administration and RHEL 8 expands this capability to include upgrades and migration, container management and security features.

As per the RHEL lifecycle policy, RHEL 7 will be maintained until June 30, 2024. We maintain our commitment to RHEL 7 as part of the RHEL lifecycle with the general availability of RHEL 7.9 today. This is the last RHEL 7 minor release as RHEL 7 enters the Maintenance Support 2 phase. During Maintenance Support 2 phase, Red Hat-defined Critical and Important impact Security Advisories (RHSAs) and selected (at Red Hat discretion) Urgent Priority Bug Fix Advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate. While this is not an EUS release, it provides the same level of maintenance as EUS until end of maintenance on June 30, 2024.

RHEL 7.9 is also supported with kpatch which enables IT teams to update their RHEL 7 kernels "live" without requiring a system restart.

RHEL 7.9 will include a security content automation protocol (SCAP) profile for the Center for Information Security (CIS) benchmark as well as other selected bugfixes. As RHEL deployments are tied to a subscription and not to a specific version, RHEL 7.9 also includes straightforward access to in-place upgrades with LEAPP, a command-line interface (CLI) that takes much of the complexity out of upgrading production Linux systems. You can find out more information about LEAPP and in-place upgrades for RHEL 7 here.

RHEL 7 paved the way for the refined innovation of RHEL 8, and we’re eager to deliver the next wave of Linux breakthroughs in the future!

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