Posted by & filed under Linux, RedHat.

Red Hat is pleased to announce the availability of the latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, release 5.6 (with kernel-2.6.18-238.el5)!

In virtualisation land, one of the major changes have been the addition of the virtio balloon driver. This new driver in Red Hat 5.6 allows guests to express to the hypervisor how much memory they require. The balloon driver allows the host to efficiently allocate memory to the guest and allow free memory to be allocated to other guests and processes.

Also, In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6, a global synchronization point is added to pvclock, providing a more stable time source for guests, which is good because this has been the cause of so many time slips in guest clocks.

RHEL 5.6 also pushes the BIND server to the latest release number.

And guess what. Oh my goodness: PHP 5.3! I know, it seems strange, but finally Red Hat ships with PHP 5.3 as default!

There are many other noteworthy changes in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6, and I would highly suggest that you read the release notes for Red Hat 5.6.

Karanbir (the lead developer of CentOS) has asked on Twitter what should be released and how: CentOS 5.6 or CentOS 6? Arrfab has stated the reasons why CentOS 5.6 should be released first:

  • The centos 5.x install base is there while there is (obviously) no centos 6 install base.
  • So those people having machines in production, faced to the net (, etc, etc, …) would prefer having their machines patched and up2date (security first !)
  • People running CentOS 5.x on servers and willing to install php53 packages, now officially included
  • On the build side, the el5 build process is clearly identified and known since 2007 : packages with branding issues are already identified and patches/artwork is already there, meaning that it will be probably (no, surely !) faster to have 5.6 out of the door than 6
  • Same rule for the QA process : people from the QA team can “blindly” focus on their previous tests, and just have a look eventually at some newer packages (a few, like php53 but not that much in comparison with el6)

and although I am excited to see CentOS 6.0 be released, I must say that I agree that CentOS 5.6 should be released first.

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