What is new in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8?

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 defaults to the Gnome 3 desktop environment whereas our older RHEL 7 systems default to Gnome 2. You can have a look at the Gnome 3 Release Notes for information on what is new. Red Hat also provides some Gnome 3 documentation that you might find useful.

Switching Back to Gnome 2

If you do not like the newer Gnome 3 environment or simply prefer the more familiar Gnome 2, you can select the “Classic” environment when logging in. After entering your username at the log-in screen, a small gear symbol will appear at the password screen. Here you can change to the “Classic” (i.e. Gnome 2) environment. The minimalist “Openbox” desktop is also available. Your selection will be saved until you change it at a subsequent login.

The following modes are available on most systems:

  • Standard (Wayland display server) - The Gnome 3 environment using the Wayland display protocol. Will not work on systems using Nvidia commercial drivers
  • Standard (X11 display sever) - The Gnome 3 environment using the legacy X11 display protocol
  • Classic (Wayland display server) - The Gnome 2 environment using the Wayland display protocol
  • Classic (X11 display server) - The Gnome 2 environment using the legacy X11 display protocol
  • Openbox - The minimalist Openbox desktop environment using the legacy X11 display protocol

The Kiosk, Custom, and User script display modes are only recommended for expert users.

RHEL 8 now defaults to the Wayland display server protocol on any system that is not using the commercial Nvidia display drivers. On systems with Nvidia graphics cars that use the proprietary vendor drivers (not the open source Nouveau drivers) which includes any systems that can use the Nvidia CUDA programming platform, only the X11 display protocol (provided by Xorg) is available. If you experience any graphical problems or glitches in the Wayland environment, try switching to the X11 display server environment (see above).

The Software Collections (SCL) mechanism was deprecated by Red Hat for RHEL 8. If you need any software not currently available, please contact

Please see “Using the Arduino IDE on RHEL 8 Systems” for more information.

Python 3 is now the default version of Python on RHEL 8. To find out the exact version of Python available by running:

~> python --version
Python 3.6.8

Other versions of python are also available:

~> python3.8 --version
Python 3.8.6
~> python2 --version
Python 2.7.18