Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.7 is coming

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.7 is coming

People walking by red hat on the wall.

Image: RedHat

If you haven’t upgraded to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9 family and your business lives and dies with RHEL, chances are you’re using RHEL 8.x. If this is you, pay attention because the latest version, RHEL 8.7, has just arrived on a download site near you.

Why make a move at all? It’s not like RHEL 8.6 is going to crash on you. True, but the latest RHEL comes with bigger and better security features. And, unless you’ve been hiding your head in the sand for the past few years, you know that security attacks are happening more than ever.

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Specifically, Red Hat is implementing new built-in authentication and security features. These are:

  • RHEL Identity Access Management (IAM) now includes Red Hat’s new Ansible DevOps program, a tool to configure smart card authentication across their enterprise.
  • RHEL also now supports third-party IAM services. These include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and others. Of course, RHEL has long supported Active Directory (AD) as a third-party IAM resource.

Red Hat is also enhancing its software bill of materials (SBOM) with secure software supply chain methodologies. Red Hat did this by adopting Sigstore, the open-source software signing service renowned for its build pipelines and tools. This makes RHEL and the programs built into it much more reliable.

The company also integrates Sigstore into its Podman, Docker’s Open Containers Initiative (OCI) rival. Since Podman works natively with Kubernetes, the incredibly popular cloud orchestration tool, it has become very popular in its own right.

If securing your software isn’t reason enough for you, keep in mind that SBOMs are now required by government regulation and presidential decree. SBOMs aren’t just a good idea; they are the law.

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Additionally, RHEL’s Network Security Services (NSS) libraries now require all RSA secure keys to be at least 1023-bit. This necessarily strengthens all your encrypted keys.

Beyond these minor security fixes and other minor security fixes, RHEL has also moved to a new Linux kernel. It now works with kernel version 4.18.0-425.

Of course, the new RHEL also includes the latest coding tools, container tools, computer languages, compilers, open source databases, and web and cache servers. It wouldn’t be an RHEL release without them. These include:

  • GCC-toolset 12 and the GCC 12 compiler.
  • New updates to the Rust toolset, LLVM toolset, and Go toolset.
  • Ruby 3.1, Maven 3.8. .NET 7 and Node.js 18.
  • Mercurial 6.2, the latest Mercurial distributed source control management tool.

RHEL also includes application streams. With each of them, your programmers can use different versions of software. This allows the user to use the version that best suits their needs. These userspace components ship and update more frequently than core operating system packages.

Your developers will be happy to see them ready to run in their toolchains.

Finally, it’s easier than ever to upgrade from one version of RHEL to the next. Leapp, Red Hat’s upgrade tool, now supports in-place upgrades for two two-year Extended Update Support (EUS) periods. So, for example, you can easily upgrade from RHEL 7.9 to 8.4 or 8.6, 8.6 to 9.0. This gives you two years to understand and plan your upgrades. The related tool, Convert2RHEL, now also supports similar upgrades from CentOS Linux to RHEL updates. For example, from CentOS Linux 7.9 to RHEL 7.9 and from CentOS Linux 8.4 to RHEL 8.4.

Overall, RHEL 8.7 is an impressive step forward for RHEL users. I would seriously consider moving there as soon as possible. Sigstore support alone makes this an upgrade priority in my book.

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