Scientific Linux

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Scientific Linux
Scientific Linux logo and wordmark old.png
Scientific Linux 7.png
Scientific Linux 7.0 — GNOME Desktop
Developer Fermilab, CERN
OS family Linux
Source model Open source
Initial release 10 May 2004; 18 years ago (2004-05-10)
Latest release 7.2, 6.7, 5.11 / (5 February 2016, 26 August 2015, 13 November 2013)
Update method YUM
Platforms x86, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic Linux kernel
Default user interface GNOME
License GPL and others
Official website

Scientific Linux (SL) is a Linux distribution produced by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It is a free and open source operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.[1]

This product is derived from the free and open source software made available by Red Hat, but is not produced, maintained or supported by them. It is built from the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions, under the terms and conditions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux's end-user license agreement and the GNU General Public License.


Fermilab already had a Linux distribution known as Fermi Linux, a long-term support release based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. CERN was creating their next version of Cern Linux, also based on RHEL. CERN contacted Fermilab about doing a collaborative release. Connie Sieh was the main developer and driver behind the first prototypes and initial release.[2] The first official release of Scientific Linux was version 3.0.1, released on May 10, 2004.

In 2015, CERN switched away from Scientific Linux to CentOS.[3]

Scientific Linux is now maintained by a cooperative of science labs and universities. Fermilab is its primary sponsor.[2]

Design philosophy

The primary purpose of Scientific Linux is to produce a common Linux distribution for various labs and universities around the world, thus reducing duplicated effort. The main goals are to have everything compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux with only minor additions and changes, and to allow easy customization for a site, without disturbing the Linux base.[4]

The distribution is called Scientific Linux because it was initially made and used by scientific labs. It does not contain a large collection of scientific software.[1][5] However, it provides good compatibility to install such software.


Scientific Linux is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with protected components, such as Red Hat trademarks, removed, thus making it freely available.[6] New releases are typically produced about two months after each Red Hat release.[2] As well as a full distribution equal to two DVDs, Scientific Linux is also available in LiveCD and LiveDVD versions.[6]

Scientific Linux offers wireless and Bluetooth out of the box, and it comes with a comprehensive range of software, such as multimedia codecs, Samba, and Compiz,[5] as well as servers and clients, storage clients, networking, and system administration tools.[2]

It also contains a set of tools for making custom versions, thus allowing institutions and individuals to create their own variant.[2]

Release history

Historical releases of Scientific Linux are the following,[7][8] although the release dates may not tell the whole story as each release is subjected to a period of public testing before it is considered 'released'.

Scientific Linux release Codename Architectures RHEL base Scientific Linux release date Red Hat Enterprise Linux release date Delay
3.0.1 Lithium i386, x86-64 3.1 2004-05-10 2004-01-16 106d
4 Beryllium i386, x86-64 4 2005-04-20 2005-02-14 65d
5 Boron i386, x86-64 5 2007-05-14 2007-03-14 61d
6 Carbon i386, x86-64 6 2011-03-03 2010-11-10 113d
7 Nitrogen i386, x86-64 7 2014-10-13 2014-06-10 125d


Security updates are provided for as long as Red Hat continues to release updates and patches for their versions.[9]

End of support schedule
Scientific Linux release Full updates Maintenance updates
3 2006-07-20 2010-10-31
4 2009-03-31 2012-02-29
5 Q1 2014 2017-03-31
6 Q2 2017 2020-11-30
7 Q4 2019 2024-06-30


See also

  • Fermi Linux, Fermilab's own custom version of Scientific Linux
  • CentOS, another distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Rocks Cluster Distribution, a Linux distribution intended for high-performance computing clusters


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External links

  • 1.0 1.1 "General Questions about Scientific Linux (Community)". Scientific Linux. 
  • 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Carla Schroder (23 March 2012). "Scientific Linux, the Great Distro With the Wrong Name". 
  • "CERN CentOS 7". CERN. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  • "Welcome to Scientific Linux (SL)". Scientifix Linux. 
  • 5.0 5.1 "Scientific Linux - It blinded me with science!". Dedoimedo. 3 February 2010. 
  • 6.0 6.1 "Scientific Linux 5.6 Live released". The H. 11 July 2011. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. 
  • "News Archives". Scientifix Linux. 
  • "S.L. Distribution Roadmap". Scientifix Linux. 
  • "End of life dates for SL versions". Scientifix Linux.