Earlier this year, Red Hat shook up the organizational structure for its Linux platform. Tim Burke, the exec that had been leading Red Hat's Enterprise Linux efforts, has shifted over to the cloud. In his place, Denise Dumas, who had been working as part of Burke's team for the past five years, now leads the RHEL efforts.
In an exclusive video interview with ServerWatch, Dumas detailed some of the challenges her engineering teams faces. She also explained the relationship with the open source MariaDB database and how it will now become part of the extended Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience.
Red Hat is now working on building Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7), which will include a long list of changes, among them a new Linux desktop. RHEL 7 will include a GNOME Classic mode that will be based on the newer GNOME 3 desktop, but with a familiar 'classic' interface.
While RHEL is often thought of purely as a server operating system, Dumas noted that it is often deployed as a desktop by Red Hat customers.
As customers wait for the latest updates in the upcoming RHEL 7 release, there is also demand from some customers for the latest versions of certain packages.
"Our problem with RHEL is that it's a little bit schitzo," Dumas said.
She noted that there is a section of the RHEL customer base that wants a stable, solid platform where interfaces don't change. Then there are also those that desire the stability while also wanting the latest packages for certain applications and languages.
That's where the Red Hat Software Collections come into play. The Software Collections are alternative packages for RHEL users that provide newer versions of software.
Among the pieces of software that will be part of the Software Collection is the open source MariaDB database. MariaDB is a fork of the Oracle-owned MySQL database, and is led by the original founder of MySQL, Monty Widenius.
As part of the Software Collection, Red Hat customers will get three years of support for MariaDB.
The Software Collections, of which MariaDB is a part, install on top of the existing RHEL 6.x release cycle.
"We're going to be at the base of everything that Red Hat does," Dumas said. "Clearly there is a lot of innovation going on around us and we've got a lot of challenges, and we need to make sure that we're able to deliver things at the right cadence."
Watch the full video interview with Denise Dumas below: