Red Hat Refines Beta Release Cycle for RHEL Minor Updates

Starting from RHEL 9.5, Red Hat will bet on a new approach for the minor beta releases to streamline testing and feedback processes.

In a move aimed at enhancing the development process and user experience, Red Hat has announced upcoming changes to the beta release strategy for minor updates of its flagship operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Since its inception, RHEL has offered beta versions ahead of each minor release to allow users to preview changes, test major features, and provide valuable feedback.

Traditionally, the timing of these releases has varied. Still, in recent years, Red Hat has adopted a more predictable schedule aligned with its 3-year and 6-month cadence targets for major and minor releases.

However, feedback and operational experience have indicated a need for revision in the approach to minor release betas. Historically, the window between beta and final release has been too narrow to address all identified bugs adequately, prompting Red Hat to reevaluate and adjust its strategy.

Key Changes Beginning with RHEL 9.5

The minor release process will see significant simplification starting with the upcoming RHEL 9.5, which will be released sometime this November. The most notable change is the packages’ early and continuous release to beta channels up to four months before the full release.

For reference, up until this point, the new packages were typically added to the beta channel just a month before the main minor release, which did not provide ample time to gather and incorporate user feedback.

This shift aims to provide users access to new features and fixes sooner than possible. Additionally, Red Hat will update these packages weekly, enhancing the feedback loop and allowing for more iterative improvements based on user input.

And now something very important! In support of this streamlined process, Red Hat will no longer proactively generate installation media for minor release betas, including pre-built ISOs, cloud images, and QCOW virtual machine images. Instead, the Red Hat Image Builder tool will be empowered to generate beta images in various supported formats.

Furthermore, product documentation will be reserved exclusively for the full release to ensure it reflects the latest updates and features.

Despite these changes, Red Hat reaffirms its commitment to continuity in several key areas. Prerelease packages will remain available in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux beta channels several weeks before the traditional beta release.

Additionally, development in CentOS Stream will proceed unchanged, remaining the preferred venue for community development, testing, and contributions to future RHEL minor releases.

Lastly, it’s important to note that these changes will not affect any planned minor releases within RHEL 8 or earlier versions. The updated beta release process will apply to RHEL 9.5 and subsequent minor releases, including the upcoming RHEL 10 series starting with RHEL 10.1.

For more in-depth information, refer to the official Red Hat’s announcement.

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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