Red Hat has let it be known that by this time next year it will wash its hands of the third version of its Enterprise Linux.
In a notification sent to customers and CERTs, the company has pointed out that its product lifecycle for Red Hat Enterpise Linux 3 is about to run out of life. The product debuted in October 2003, ceased production in the same month of 2010 and has been coasting in “extended life phase” mode ever since.
In that mode Red Hat “delivers critical impact security fixes and selected urgent-priority bug fixes that are available and qualified for a published subset of the packages in a specific major release,” but otherwise leaves the OS alone. Even that level of support won't be available after January 30th next year.
Red Hat's End of Support Notice says it's therefore time for “ … customers to plan their migration from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or 6, both of which are currently supported within their active, production phase life cycle.”
The good news is that those upgrades are available in customers' subscriptions. Those without subscriptions probably have some budgeting to do on top of migration planning.
It's hard to imagine many users will be panicked by the imminent demise of the operating system, although those still reliant on it may be tempted to hope its 10-year lifespand has seen it become sufficiently hardened that it is possible to squeeze another year or two out of the software, perhaps with help of like-minded users happy to code their own fixes.
The retirement of the OS will not be 2014's biggest such event, as Windows XP will finally bite the dust on April 7th, 2014. ®