This week I delt with 2 specific bugs with Red Hat products.

The first is that out of about 1,000 machines I maintain I had about 2% - 3% that experienced some sort of error while applying RHEL 3 Update 6. RPM was somehow interrupted in the middle of the transaction which left the machines with many duplicate RPM packages supposedly installed. For example, some machines had two versions of the pam-devel package installed. The next time up2date was run it experienced multiple dependency errors and could not update the system. Along the lines of each version of pam-devel required the same version of pam. There was only one pam package installed. To make matters more interesting all machines that were affected had the same duplicate packages.

Rather annoying to fix this was. Our solution was to rpm -e --justdb package where package was the higher version of one of the duplicate packages. However, my preferred recommendation was to reinstall the machine.

Problem 2: The Red Hat Network servers expose an XMLRPC API so that one can write scripts to modify machines in RHN or somehow use the information stored there. One of the group names had a “&” character in it. When I listed the groups on the RHN server this character was not properly escaped in the XML stream resulting in XML errors. This has been filed at Bug #170553 in Red Hat’s Bugzilla.