Oracle Linux 9.3 Brings Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R7U2

Oracle Linux 9.3 is out now, featuring DNF enhancements and automatic reboot options. Here's more on that!

If you’re searching for a free alternative to RHEL/CentOS, Oracle Linux stands out as one of the top choices you can depend on.

Its reliability, scalability, and performance make it suitable for various applications ranging from running servers and data centers to supporting cloud-based environments.

Following the recent launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s 9.3 version, AlmaLinux was quick to update with its own 9.3 release. Oracle has now joined the trend with the Oracle Linux 9.3 release, so let’s explore the new features in their latest update.

What’s New in Oracle Linux 9.3

Oracle Linux 9.3
Oracle Linux 9.3

We’ll begin with what sets Oracle Linux apart from other RHEL-based derivatives such as Alma, Rocky, etc, specifically the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK).

It’s a Linux kernel developed by Oracle Corporation specifically for its Oracle Linux operating system, designed to offer better performance, scalability, reliability, and security, particularly in demanding enterprise environments.

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R7U2

Oracle Linux 9.3 ships with Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 7 Update 2 (UEK R7U2), which brings some novelties such as NVMe in-band authentication for data protection, AMD Last Branch Record Extension Version 2 (LbrExtV2), kernel SYN flood messages, etc. More on that – here.

Additionally, if remaining closely aligned with the RHEL version is your goal, the Red Hat Compatible Kernel 5.14 is also available. It should be noted that Oracle Linux 9.3 maintains its full binary compatibility with RHEL, consistent with its historical stance, despite the challenges arising from Red Hat’s recent move to restrict access to its source code.

Automatic System Reboots

This release also introduced an advanced feature in the DNF package manager, enabling automatic system reboots post-patch installations. This enhancement offers users different reboot options such as ‘never,’ ‘when-changed,‘ and ‘when-needed,’ significantly streamlining the patch management process.

New DNF Functionalities

The updated DNF utility now includes two novel options: ‘dnf leaves‘ and ‘dnf show-leaves‘. ‘dnf leaves‘ lists installed packages that aren’t dependencies for other packages, while ‘dnf show-leaves‘ identifies newly installed leaf packages and those that become leaf packages after an update.

Oracle 9.3's new DNF functionalities.
Oracle 9.3’s new DNF functionalities.

As their name suggests, these functionalities aid in pinpointing unnecessary packages, which can be removed to minimize the system’s attack surface and reduce maintenance requirements.

Security Enhancements

OpenSSH, one of the most widely used tools for secure network communication, has been migrated away from the less secure SHA-1 message digest and now explicitly enforces the SHA-2 algorithm by default.

Updated Compilers and Development tools

We will round up our review of this release by also mentioning that many system and development tools have also received updates in the Oracle Linux 9.3 release, with the more important ones being GCC 13, LLVM 16.0.6, Rust 1.71.1, Go 1.20.10, Node.js 20, Valgrind 3.21, and SystemTap 4.9.

You can refer to the release announcement for more information about all changes. ISO installation images are available for download from the Oracle Linux yum server.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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