Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Oracle Linux's UEK-Next Enables Developers to Explore and Validate the Latest Linux Development

Oracle Linux's UEK-Next Enables Developers to Explore and Validate the Latest Linux Development

Oracle Linux has recently launched UEK-next, an offering that combines upstream Linux kernels with Oracle Linux patches. This allows users to preview and test the latest Linux features and hardware support before they are officially released in Oracle Linux.

Beginning with Linux kernel version 6.8, Oracle will provide the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK)-next through a dedicated developer yum channel, simplifying the process for users to explore the latest upstream Linux kernels on their Oracle Linux 9 systems.

Greg Marsden, Oracle's senior vice president of Linux Kernel Development, provided further details about this announcement in a blog post. UEK-next is not intended for production use and comes with limited support from Oracle. Oracle utilizes a Linux Upstream Continuous Integration (LUCI) system to manage its Linux kernel patches. LUCI requires all patches integrated into the UEK to be continuously validated against the latest upstream Linux releases.

This process serves as an early warning system for potential conflicts and encourages developers to stay informed about upstream kernel developments alongside their specific project work. LUCI simplifies identifying upstream issues that could impact UEK and facilitates the process of testing upstream features on critical Oracle workloads before integrating them into UEK.

Occasionally, some patches are not suitable for upstream inclusion, either due to not being a long-term solution or lacking consensus in the upstream community. LUCI allows for maintaining these patches separately, while still ensuring the ability to quickly adapt to newer kernel versions. Marsden mentioned that this is a common challenge in distribution maintenance and reflects the reality of working with upstream development.

Developers are responsible for maintaining and updating patches within LUCI that are not yet incorporated upstream, whenever changes in the upstream code affect their patch. However, once the code is merged upstream, it automatically becomes part of the subsequent Linux version, relieving the developer of further maintenance responsibilities as the upstream processes take over.

Source: Introducing UEK-next, Oracle's continuous integration Linux kernel release

Internally, Oracle utilizes LUCI to generate nightly Linux kernel builds, ensuring that the patches are applied correctly and alerting developers of any potential disruptions.

Following the UEK-next announcement, the Oracle Linux blog published a post detailing its kernel configuration. Harshit Mogalapalli, the blog's author, highlighted that examining the kernel configuration is one of the best methods to uncover the features enabled in a particular kernel.

UEK-next kernel configurations are stored in the uek-rpm directory, organized by architectures. For Intel and AMD platforms, the configuration is located in uek-rpm/ol9/config-x86_64, while for ARM platforms, it's in uek-rpm/ol9/config-aarch64.

Oracle Linux's official X account shared the announcement, which received good engagement from the community. The video message from Marsden included in the post garnered a considerable number of likes, reposts, and views.

Marsden mentioned that Oracle believes that a key strategy to preventing vendor lock-in with the operating system provider is enabling customers to test their applications and workloads on the newest Linux versions. UEK-next is accessible through Oracle Linux 9 yum repositories at

Oracle Linux VirtualBox images are available for those seeking a virtual machine environment, or you can utilize UTM or QEMU.

Intended for developers rather than production environments, UEK-next is signed with a different gpg key from production RPMs. Ensure you have installed the development key before proceeding with kernel installation.

About the Author

Rate this Article