Red Hat this week released the first beta to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. RHEL 7 is based upon improvements and other work that happened over the past few release cycles in Fedora (Red Hat says it's Fedora 19-based but in developer comments it turns out to be a mix of 18/19/20) and is riding on its new enterprise Linux 3.10 kernel. In this article is a first look at RHEL 7 Beta 1 along with our first benchmarks of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 comparing the results to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5.
When Red Hat announced the RHEL7 Beta 1 release on Wednesday, performance improvements were mentioned, plus I was excited to see what the RHEL GNOME 3 experience was like, so I immediately started loading up this new release -- codenamed "Maipo" -- on several test systems at Phoronix. In my testing the past two days, the experience has been very pleasant and RHEL7 is shaping up to be a phenomenal release for enterprise Linux users.
While Fedora has received some heat in recent releases for the new Anaconda installer, this overhauled Anaconda UI is present for RHEL7. Fortunately, it's not too bad. Red Hat seems to have back-ported many fixes and enhancements to the Red Hat installer into the RHEL7 version. I didn't end up running into any installer issues in my Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 testing thus far.
One interesting thing I found about Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 that came as a bit of a surprise is RHEL7 is using XFS as the default file-system. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was using EXT4, but they have decided now to switch to XFS; up to now they have supported XFS on RHEL but not used it as the default. It seems Red Hat didn't want to risk shipping Btrfs by default in their enterprise distribution -- while SUSE and others have talked up Btrfs and may use it in their next major release. Fedora still isn't even using it by default and is still shipping with EXT4. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will be using the EXT4 file-system by default. Of course, users can easily switch to the file-system of their choice via the Anaconda installer.