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Don't cross the Application Streams! Actually, maybe you can now in RHEL 8 beta

Allows updating user space without breaking everything

Hot on the heels of its OpenStack Platform 14, Red Hat has announced the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

It has been four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 emerged. Things in the Linux world have changed considerably since then.

Naturally, there are hundreds of minor (and not so minor) tweaks and modifications in the release, but one stands out.

Application Streams allows user space packages to be delivered more simply and with greater flexibility. The user space components can be updated without having to wait for a new version of the operating system. The thinking goes that things can be made a bit more agile and custom without breaking the stability of the platform. Nice.

While chatting about the OpenStack Platform (OSP) 14, Red Hat's Nick Barcet got a bit excited about the impending RHEL 8 release and what it would mean for the next version of OSP. "Red Hat OpenStack 15, if all goes well, will fully support RHEL 8. That means that the host on which we will deploy OpenStack will be RHEL 8. That means RHEL 8 guests will be fully supported."

Alas, this is not yet the case in beta.

There is more to like than just OSP, as far as Barcet is concerned. "What really excites me in RHEL 8 is disassociation from the kernel space, which is still deployed in a fairly traditional way, and the user space, which is now deployed in the form of containerized applications.

"Let's say that today, if I want to update an application, a user space application to a given version, I have to think about the interdependency I have between this application and this other application that I do not want to upgrade because I live within the same space. With RHEL 8, I'll be able to upgrade one while maintaining the other in its current version. So that's already for me a huge progress."

As well as the headline feature, RHEL 8 will also improve Linux networking in containers and introduce a new TCP/IP stack with bandwidth and round-trip propagation time congestion control, which is aimed at upping performance for services such as video streaming.

Security gets a nod with OpenSSL 1.1.1 and TLS 1.3, along with system-wide cryptographic policies, which the company hopes will ease the headaches of admins tasked with compliance duties.

As one would expect, the Linux container support introduced in RHEL 7 gets beefed up with a toolkit to build, run and discover containerized applications.

Managing RHEL 8 should be easier thanks to a single user control panel through the Web Console, and Composer will simplify the creation and deployment of images across the hybrid cloud, be it physical, virtual, private or public.

Other tweaks include the introduction of the Stratis, a volume-managing file system.

RHEL 8 beta can be downloaded by those enrolled in Red Hat's Developer programme now, or by anyone else willing to jump through the account creation hoops in order to take a peek. ®

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