We first reported on a few details of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 last year after we heard them mentioned during the Red Hat Summit in Chicago. Those details included improved power management, many virtualization enhancements (mostly for KVM), and other features that have been worked on recently within the most recent Fedora releases.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 was released three years ago, but Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 is getting primed to enter the world. In this morning's Red Hat blog post outlining this public beta, the major features of RHEL6 include comprehensive power management capabilities, performance enhancements, scalability enhancements, and new security features. There's also greater improvements in the areas of resource management, virtualization, storage, file-system, RAS, the GCC compiler, and the RHEL desktop.
A few specific items that caught our attention were the performance improvements, the big strides made with KVM virtualization (RHEL5 was originally using Xen, but only a few months ago began shipping the Kernel-based Virtual Machine in RHEL 5.4), GCC being upgraded to 4.4.x, and the Nouveau graphics driver being used by RHEL for providing a free software NVIDIA driver. Yes, Nouveau is now shipping in an enterprise-grade distribution.
With Red Hat's claims of performance enhancements, it should be of no surprise to you that we are currently testing these claims with a set of Phoronix Test Suite benchmarks to see how the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 Beta is performing compared to RHEL/CentOS 5.4, and also Fedora. These results should be published tomorrow.