Chapter 1. Overview

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Based on Fedora 28 and the upstream kernel 4.18, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 provides users with a stable, secure, consistent foundation across hybrid cloud deployments with the tools needed to support traditional and emerging workloads. Highlights of the release include:


  • Content is available through the BaseOS and Application Stream (AppStream) repositories.
  • The AppStream repository supports a new extension of the traditional RPM format - modules. This allows for multiple major versions of a component to be available for install.

See Chapter 3, Distribution of content in RHEL 8 for more information.

Software Management

  • The YUM package manager is now based on the DNF technology and it provides support for modular content, increased performance, and a well-designed stable API for integration with tooling.

See Section 5.1.4, “Software management” for more details.

Shells and command-line tools

  • RHEL 8 provides the following version control systems: Git 2.18, Mercurial 4.8, and Subversion 1.10.

See Section 5.1.6, “Shells and command-line tools” for details.

Dynamic programming languages, web and database servers

  • Python 3.6 is the default Python implementation in RHEL 8; limited support for Python 2.7 is provided. No version of Python is installed by default.
  • Node.js is new in RHEL. Other dynamic programming languages have been updated since RHEL 7: PHP 7.2, Ruby 2.5, Perl 5.26, SWIG 3.0 are now available.
  • The following database servers are distributed with RHEL 8: MariaDB 10.3, MySQL 8.0, PostgreSQL 10, PostgreSQL 9.6, and Redis 5.
  • RHEL 8 provides the Apache HTTP Server 2.4 and introduces a new web server, nginx 1.14.
  • Squid has been updated to version 4.4, and a new proxy caching server is now included: Varnish Cache 6.0.

See Section 5.1.7, “Dynamic programming languages, web and database servers” for more information.


  • GNOME Shell has been rebased to version 3.28.
  • The GNOME session and the GNOME Display Manager use Wayland as their default display server. The X.Org server, which is the default display server in RHEL 7, is available as well.

See Section 5.1.8, “Desktop” for more information.

Installer and image creation

  • The Anaconda installer can utilize LUKS2 disk encryption, and install the system on NVDIMM devices.
  • The Image Builder tool enables users to create customized system images in a variety of formats, including images prepared for deployment on clouds of various providers.
  • Installation from a DVD using Hardware Management Console (HMC) and Support Element (SE) on IBM Z are available in RHEL 8.

See Section 5.1.2, “Installer and image creation” for further details.


  • The extended Berkeley Packet Filtering (eBPF) feature enables the user space to attach custom programs onto a variety of points (sockets, trace points, packet reception) to receive and process data. This feature is available as a Technology Preview.
  • BPF Compiler Collection (BCC), a tool for creating efficient kernel tracing and manipulation programs, is available as a Technology Preview.

See Section 5.3.1, “Kernel” for more information.

File systems and storage

  • The LUKS version 2 (LUKS2) format replaces the legacy LUKS (LUKS1) format. The dm-crypt subsystem and the cryptsetup tool now uses LUKS2 as the default format for encrypted volumes.

See Section 5.1.12, “File systems and storage” for more information.


  • System-wide cryptographic policies, which configures the core cryptographic subsystems, covering the TLS, IPsec, SSH, DNSSEC, and Kerberos protocols, are applied by default. With the new update-crypto-policies command, the administrator can easily switch between modes: default, legacy, future, and fips.
  • Support for smart cards and Hardware Security Modules (HSM) with PKCS #11 is now consistent across the system.

See Section 5.1.15, “Security” for more information.


  • The nftables framework replaces iptables in the role of the default network packet filtering facility.
  • The firewalld daemon now uses nftables as its default backend.
  • Support for IPVLAN virtual network drivers that enable the network connectivity for multiple containers has been introduced.
  • The eXpress Data Path (XDP), XDP for Traffic Control (tc), and Address Family eXpress Data Path (AF_XDP), as parts of the extended Berkeley Packet Filtering (eBPF) feature, are available as Technology Previews. For more details, see Section 5.3.7, “Networking” in Technology Previews.

See Section 5.1.14, “Networking” in New features for additional features.


  • A more modern PCI Express-based machine type (Q35) is now supported and automatically configured in virtual machines created in RHEL 8. This provides a variety of improvements in features and compatibility of virtual devices.
  • Virtual machines can now be created and managed using the RHEL 8 web console, also known as Cockpit.
  • The QEMU emulator introduces the sandboxing feature, which provides configurable limitations to what systems calls QEMU can perform, and thus makes virtual machines more secure.

See Section 5.1.16, “Virtualization” for more information.

Compilers and development tools

  • The GCC compiler based on version 8.2 brings support for more recent C++ language standard versions, better optimizations, new code hardening techniques, improved warnings, and new hardware features.
  • Various tools for code generation, manipulation, and debugging can now experimentally handle the DWARF5 debugging information format.
  • Kernel support for eBPF tracing is available for some tools, such as BCC, PCP, and SystemTap.
  • The glibc libraries based on version 2.28 add support for Unicode 11, newer Linux system calls, key improvements in the DNS stub resolver, additional security hardening, and improved performance.
  • RHEL 8 provides OpenJDK 11, OpenJDK 8, IcedTea-Web, and various Java tools, such as Ant, Maven, or Scala.

See Section 5.1.11, “Compilers and development tools” for additional details.

High availability and clusters

  • The Pacemaker cluster resource manager has been upgraded to upstream version 2.0.0, which provides a number of bug fixes and enhancements.
  • In RHEL 8, the pcs configuration system fully supports Corosync 3, knet, and node names.

See Section 5.1.13, “High availability and clusters” for more information.

Additional resources

Red Hat Customer Portal Labs

Red Hat Customer Portal Labs is a set of tools in a section of the Customer Portal available at The applications in Red Hat Customer Portal Labs can help you improve performance, quickly troubleshoot issues, identify security problems, and quickly deploy and configure complex applications. Some of the most popular applications are:

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