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Blog Michael Schwalm Overview of Oracle Linux releases and kernels

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Overview of Oracle Linux releases and kernels

As everybody knows, Linux regroups several operating system families. The most popular Linux OS are Debian, Red Hat, or Suse. But each family has many derived Linux distributions. In November 2006, Oracle released the first version of its operating system, totally based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Enterprise Linux. 

 

Up to release 5, the system came with two kernels:

  • A customized kernel with bug fixes, based on Red Hat kernel, installed and started by default
  • An unmodified Red Hat kernel for manual installation, identical to the one released on Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems
 

From Enterprise Linux 5 to Enterprise Linux 5 Update 4, the unmodified Red Hat kernel was installed by default and the kernel with bug fixes had to be installed manually.

In Oracle Linux 5 Update 5, Oracle introduced a new Kernel: the UEK (for Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel). This kernel consists in an upgraded kernel, with specific features or enhancements for Oracle software. In Oracle Linux 5.5, the Red Hat kernel was still installed and started by default, the UEK and the kernel with bug fixes had both to be installed manually.

Since Oracle Linux 5 Update 6, the Oracle UEK has replaced the Red Hat kernel. It is installed and started by default, and the Red Hat kernel is just installed, but not enabled. The kernel with bug fixes remains uninstalled but still available for a manual install.

 

The following table lists all Oracle Linux releases, associated to the corresponding kernel(s) and release date (dates are approximations from information displayed on oss.oracle.com and wikipedia.org):

 

Release name Release date Default kernel Optionnal kernel
Enterprise Linux 4.4 10/2006 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.9-42.0.0.0.1.EL n/c

Enterprise Linux 4.5

05/2007 Kernel with buf fixes 2.6.9-55.0.0.0.2.EL n/c

Enterprise Linux 4.6

04/2008 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.9-67.0.0.0.1.EL n/c

Enterprise Linux 4.7

07/2008 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-78.0.0.0.1.EL 2.6.18-78 (manually)

Enterprise Linux 4.8

05/2009 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.9-89.0.0.0.1.EL 2.6.9-89 (manually)

Enterprise Linux 4.9

02/2011 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.9-100.0.0.0.1.EL 2.6.9-100.EL

Enterprise Linux 5

06/2007 2.6.18-8.el5 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-8.0.0.4.1.el5 (manually)

Enterprise Linux 5.1

04/2008 2.6.18-53.el5 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-53.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)

Enterprise Linux 5.2

06/2008 2.6.18-92.el5 Kernel with big fixes 2.6.18-92.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)
Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.3 (OEL) 01/2009 2.6.18-128.el5 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-128.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)
Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.4 (OEL) 09/2009 2.6.18-164.el5 Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-164.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)
Oracle Linux 5.5 09/2010 2.6.18-194.el5

Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-194.0.0.0.3.el5 (manually)

UEK 2.6.32-100.0.19.el5 (via uln)

Oracle Linux 5.6 06/2011 UEK 2.6.32-100.26.2.el5

2.6.18-238.el5 (disabled)

Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-238.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)

Oracle Linux 5.7 07/2011 UEK 2.6.32-200.13.1.el5uek

2.6.18-274.el5 (disabled)

Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-274.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)

Oracle Linux 5.8 02/2012 UEK 2.6.32-300.10.1.el5uek

2.6.18-308.el5 (disabled)

Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-308.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)

Oracle Linux 5.9 01/2013 UEKR2 QU2 2.6.39-300.26.1.el5uek

2.6.18-348.el5 (disabled)

Kernel with bug fixes 2.6.18-348.0.0.0.1.el5 (manually)

Oracle Linux 6 02/2011 UEK 2.6.32-100.28.5.el6 2.6.32-71.el6 (disabled)
Oracle Linux 6.1 06/2011 UEK 2.6.32-100.34.1.el6 2.6.32-131.0.15.el6 (disabled)
Oracle Linux 6.2 12/2011 UEK 2.6.32-300.3.1.el6uek 2.6.32-220.el6 (disabled)
Oracle Linux 6.3 06/2012 UEK R2 2.6.39-200.24.1.el6uek 2.6.32-279.el6 (disabled)   
Oracle Linux 6.4 02/2013 UEK R2 QU3
2.6.39-400.17.1.el6uek
2.6.32-358.el6 (disabled)
Oracle Linux 6.5 11/2013

UEK R2 QU5 2.6.39-400.211.1.el6uek (i386 media)

UEK R3 3.8.13-16.2.1.el6uek (x86_64 media)

2.6.32-431.el6 (disabled)

 

I will regulary update this table with new releases of Oracle Linux.

 

UPDATE

In february 28th 2013, Oracle released Oracle Linux 6 Update 4, shipped with the UEK R2 Quarterly Update 3 (2.6.39-400.17.1).

In July 2013, Oracle released the UEK R2 Quarterly Update 4 (2.6.39-400.109.1).

In September 2013, Oracle released the UEK R2 Quarterly Update 5 (2.6.39-400.209.1).

In October 2013, Oracle released the UEK R3 (3.8.13-16.el6uek.x86_64).

In November 2013, Oracle released Oracle Linux Update 5, shipped with the UEK R2 Quarterly Update 5 (2.6.39-400.211.1) for the i386 media, or UEK R3 (3.8.13-16.2.1) for the x86_64 media, since UEK R3 is not compatible with i386.

 

You can find the release notes on the Oracle website:

https://oss.oracle.com/ol6/docs/RELEASE-NOTES-U4-en.html

https://oss.oracle.com/ol6/docs/RELEASE-NOTES-UEK2-QU4-en.html

https://oss.oracle.com/ol6/docs/RELEASE-NOTES-UEK2-QU5-en.html

https://oss.oracle.com/el6/docs/RELEASE-NOTES-U5-en.html

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Michael Schwalm is Consultant at dbi Services and has more than two years of experience in Oracle database administration. He has a broad knowledge in the realization of virtualization infrastructures such as vMware vSphere. He took his first steps in database administration as an integrator of a web applications on Unix, Oracle, and Websphere environments. Michael Schwalm is Oracle Certified Professional 11g and RAC Implementation Specialist 11g. Prior to joining dbi services, Michael Schwalm was application administrator at SOGETI Est (F) on behalf of PSA Peugeot Citroen and responsible for the realization and managing of Unix environments and Oracle databases in the context of migration projects. Michael Schwalm holds a BTS diploma in Information System Management from Belfort (F) and a TSAR diploma in advanced network administration from Strasbourg (F). His branch-related experience covers Automotive, Software industry, Financial Services / Banking, etc.

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