Scientific Linux (SL) is a Linux distribution produced by Fermilab, CERN, DESY and by ETH Zurich. It is a free and open-source operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.[4]

Scientific Linux
Scientific Linux logo and wordmark.svg
Scientific Linux 7.png
Scientific Linux 7.0 with GNOME
DeveloperFermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) / European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseMay 10, 2004; 15 years ago (2004-05-10)
Latest release7.7[1], 6.10[2] / August 26, 2019; 5 months ago (2019-08-26), July 11, 2018; 18 months ago (2018-07-11)
Marketing targetScientific purpose / High Performance Computing / Servers / Desktops[3]
Update methodYum (PackageKit)
Package managerRPM Package Manager
Platformsx86, x86-64
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
Default user interfaceGNOME
LicenseGNU GPL & Various others.

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.[citation needed]

In April 2019, it was announced that Scientific Linux would be discontinued, but that maintenance will continue to be provided for the 6.x and 7.x releases through the end of their lifecycles. Fermilab will utilize CentOS for its deployment of 8.0 instead.[5]


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.[3] The first official release of Scientific Linux was version 3.0.1, released on May 10, 2004.

In 2015, CERN began migrating away from Scientific Linux to CentOS.[6][7]

Scientific Linux is now maintained by a cooperative of science labs and universities. Fermilab is its primary sponsor.[3]

Design philosophyEdit

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.[8] Unlike other distributions such as Poseidon Linux, it does not contain a large collection of scientific software.[4][9] 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.[10] New releases are typically produced about two months after each Red Hat release.[3] As well as a full distribution equal to two DVDs, Scientific Linux is also available in LiveCD and LiveDVD versions.[10]

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,[9] as well as servers and clients, storage clients, networking, and system administration tools.[3]

It also contains a set of tools for making custom versions, thus allowing institutions and individuals to create their own variant.[3]

Release historyEdit

Historical releases of Scientific Linux are the following.[11][12] 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[3] Beryllium i386, x86-64 4 2005-04-20 2005-02-14 65d
5[13][14] Boron i386, x86-64 5 2007-05-14 2007-03-14 61d
6[15][16][17][18] Carbon i386, x86-64 6 2011-03-03 2010-11-10 113d
7[19][20] Nitrogen 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.[21]

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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "SL7 Scientific Linux".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Carla Schroder (March 23, 2012). "Scientific Linux, the Great Distro With the Wrong Name".
  4. ^ a b "General Questions about Scientific Linux (Community)". Scientific Linux.
  5. ^ "The end of Scientific Linux []". Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Scientific Linux @ CERN: Next Version". CERN. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "CC7: CERN CentOS 7". CERN. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "Welcome to Scientific Linux (SL)". Scientifix Linux.
  9. ^ a b "Scientific Linux – It blinded me with science!". Dedoimedo. February 3, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Scientific Linux 5.6 Live released". The H. July 11, 2011. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013.
  11. ^ "News Archives". Scientifix Linux.
  12. ^ "S.L. Distribution Roadmap". Scientifix Linux.
  13. ^ Scientific Linux – It blinded me with science!, Dedoimedo
  14. ^ DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 351, 26 April 2010
  15. ^ Scientific Linux 6 – Another great distro, but, Dedoimedo
  16. ^ DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 419, 22 August 2011
  17. ^ Scientific Linux 6.1 Carbon review – Almost there, Dedoimedo
  18. ^ Scientific Linux 6.5 Carbon – Fast and dubious, Dedoimedo
  19. ^ Scientific Linux 7.1 review – More fiasco, Dedoimedo
  20. ^ Download Scientific Linux 7.5, Softpedia Linux
  21. ^ "End of life dates for SL versions". Scientifix Linux. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011.

External linksEdit