How would you like a development environment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) set up in less than a minute? Having multiple versions of software installed at the same time? Is there a simpler and faster way than manually searching for and then installing separate packages?

The answer to all three questions is: Red Hat Software Collections (RHSCL). This technology has been around for a few years, but not everyone is familiar with it. This article reveals its potential and ease of use.

Software Collections give you the power to build, install, and use multiple versions of software on the same system without affecting system-wide installed packages. Each collection is delivered as a group of RPMs (packages).

Editor's note: Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now freely available for development use. Download it here!

Red Hat Software Collections

RHSCL provides a set of dynamic programming languages, database servers, and various related packages that are either more recent than the equivalent versions included in the base RHEL system, or are new available for the first time.

To be more specific, RHSCL includes versions of Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Python, NodeJS, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, MySQL, MariaDB, Apache HTTP Server, Varnish Cache, Phusion Passenger, nginx, PHP, Perl, Developer Toolset, Git, and Thermostat.

Most recently a brand new RHSCL 2.2 Beta has been released for RHEL 6 and 7.

About Software Collections on CentOS

In mid-December, the SCLo Special Interest Group (SIG) began releasing the same software for both CentOS 6 & 7 via Software Collections.

The Software Collections SIG is an open community group co-ordinating the development of the SCL technology in CentOS, and helping curate a reference set of collections that have been available for Red Hat customers via RHSCL product for the last several years. Besides packages rebuilt from RHSCL, the objective is to include also updated content or collections that are not part of the RHSCL portfolio at all.

You can learn more about Software Collections concepts at:

You can find information on the SIG at: ; this includes howto get involved and help with the effort.

The SIG group meets every second Wednesday in #centos-devel on (ref: This meeting provides an informal open forum for anyone who might have comments, concerns, or wants to get started with SCL's in CentOS.

Get started with Software collections

There are three easy steps to get started with Software Collection:


  1. Run:
    $ yum-config-manager --enable rhel-7-server-optional-rpms

    To do the same on an updated CentOS Linux 6/x86_64 or 7/x86_64 machine run:

    $ sudo yum install centos-release-scl

    This will enable the right repositories, and bring any metadata needed to validate the content.

  2. Install the collections you'd like to use:
    $ sudo yum install <collection>
  3. Enable the collection so you can use it:
    $ scl enable <collection> bash

At this point you should be able to use the software included in the collection. In order to view the available components or tools, you can run:

$ sudo yum list <collection>\*

In the future articles in this series, you will learn more detailed information about individual Software Collections available in RHEL, with some additional information related to CentOS.

Last updated: November 1, 2023