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Why RH9, not RH8.1

I was forwarded this message from a friend who wanted to see if the
numbering of the next RH to v9 instead of v8.1 was just a marketing
gimmick.  Word from RedHat, it isn't:

On Mon, Mar 24, 2003 at 03:45:26PM -0500, William Hooper wrote:
> > Red Hat 9.0? What happened to 8.1?
> Binary compatibility.  RH always goes to x.0 when they don't preserve
> binary compatibility.  Now you know why some people (like me) think it
> silly to be calling it RH 8.1 beta in the newsgroups.

In the past, this was indeed the case.  Red Hat Linux 9's
incorporation of NPTL does mean that certain applications that
function on older versions of Red Hat Linux (like 8.0) will not work
without intervention on Red Hat Linux 9.  For example, some Java JVMs
do not work properly because they make certain assumptions about the
thread model that are no longer true.  Most of these applications can
still be used by specifying that you wish the older thread libraries
to be used through LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.4.1 and LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5.

But there's something a bit more fundamental that I want people to be
aware of.  In the past we would never have tackled something as
massive and invasive as a new threads implementation just after a ".0"
release (in this case, 8.0).  We were able to do this, and bring this
great new technology to a mass audience, because we've changed the way
we consider technology to incorporate in Red Hat Linux.  In the past
we would have felt it necessary to wait a while for a ".0" release
because we had to support a series of releases for years.

With the introduction of the full family of Red Hat Enterprise Linux
product we now have the flexibility to incorporate the best technology
that both the Open Source communities and Red Hat have to offer when
they're ready, instead of having to hold back.

One example of this sort of thing that caused a lot of negative
feedback in the past was the delayed incorporation of Python 2.0 in
the Red Hat Linux 7.x series.  In the new model we would be able to
get the new releases of major subsystems like Python in the
distribution as soon as they have been proven stable.

I hope this sheds a little light on "why 9 and not 8.1".


Matt Wilson
Manager, Base Operating Systems
Red Hat, Inc. 
Dan Fleischer
Systems Administrator
Bank & Trust Co.
401 N. Madison St.
Litchfield, IL 62056

Ph. 217-324-3935

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