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We released the first glimpse into Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 with the availability of the 5.3 Beta in October. Today, we’ve announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, delivered via Red Hat Network to customers with a Red Hat subscription.

A key benefit of a Red Hat subscription is that feature updates and fixes are incorporated into the base platform release in such a way that interfaces (APIs & ABIs) are held stable. You can adopt the latest open source capabilities without needing to recertify your hardware and applications. Today’s delivery of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, with its wide range of new features, demonstrates our commitment to deliver value via your subscription.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux updates provide:

  • Feature enhancements and stable new features
  • Security hardening
  • Consolidated bug fixes

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 Release Notes note over 150 updates and upgrades, but here are a few key highlights:

Virtualization enhancements: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 supports larger x86-64 systems. The number of supported physical CPUs is increased to 126, while maximum memory is increased to 1TB. Virtual server CPU and memory limits have been increased to 32 and 80GB respectively – far higher than competing virtualization products. Additionally the per-guest limits for disks and network interfaces have also been increased. The performance and range of paravirtualized device drivers has been increased, enabling ever more applications to be deployed on virtual servers with near bare-metal performance.

Next-generation hardware enablement: The soon-to-be-released Tylersberg/Nehalem platform is the next-generation of Intel x86-64 hardware. Support for the virtualization and performance features provided by this processor combined with numerous optimizations have already demonstrated exceptional performance over previous processor generations in internal Red Hat testing.

OpenJDK: Red Hat is taking a leadership position in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 by shipping the first productized implementation of OpenJDK. OpenJDK in 5.3 has passed the full Java SE 6 TCK and is compatible with all applications written for Java SE 6 and previous versions. With the integration of OpenJDK, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 is the the first enterprise-ready solution with a fully open source Java stack when combined with JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

Systemtap: This is an application development tool targeted at dynamically allowing applications to be monitored and diagnosed. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 support for User Mode (i.e. application level) tracing and profiling is provided for the first time – adding to the Kernel Mode support that was provided in earlier releases. The operative word here being "dynamically," as the key benefit of Systemtap is the ability, on-the-fly, to add instrumentation, probe points, and memory tracking to running applications. This is key to enable identification and resolution of issues in live environments. Extremely powerful — both for user and kernel space.

Power management: With "green IT" gaining increasing focus, we have been implementing a progression of power-saving enhancements in every update of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 5.3 is no exception, with improved handling of low-level power management low-power sleep states.

Disk encryption: Critical for laptop use, but also becoming increasingly important in server deployments (due to concerns with hardware disposal at the end of its lifecycle), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 includes full support for encryption of storage, either at the block level or file system level. Installer enhancements enable encryption to be configured at installation time, and includes support for the root and swap devices.

To learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 features and enhancements, please refer to the Release Notes, and visit here. Or, download the Technical Overview from our Resource Center.

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