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Current and Yum...Goodnight RHN

  August 2, 2006   Operations

I’ve been hacking on Current again of late. The Subversion trunk now contains support for multiple channels. (Not implemented as parent/sub channels but the benefits are the same.) Also there is support for Yum repomd and a Yum plugin to handle authentication to the Current server. This requires Yum 2.9.3 or higher.

Forth coming in this development series is a user/admin authentication system and a rework of a web frontend most likely using Turbo Gears.

The real question is what has prompted me to do this work here and now. At work RHN has been deployed to support some 1,300 clients for 3 years now and its turned out to give us very few benefits at the cost of a lot of extra work. Points in particular: There is not a sane way to handle old/inactive registrations which end up getting counted as a used license. To maintain RHN in a redundant manner I need to run an Oracle 9iR2 database which is not one of my areas of expertise. Much less is running an Oracle database in a redundant manner itself. My dependency on Oracle is a big risk, backups or no.

The main benefit we get from RHN is a easy place for system administrators to look to see their group of machines and make sure they are online and getting updates. That is valuable. The rest of RHN, to us, is not. Especially so when Up2date is so many years behind Yum.

What’s in the future? Well, it appears to be that RHEL 5 will use Yum and a plugin to interface with RHN. That solves parts of the problem. What about RHEL 4? RHEL 3 would be difficult to get the Current/Yum software to work due to Python 2.2, but Current still supports the RHN protocol.

So, where to go from here? I’m very much in favor of having Open Source management software who’s goal is to provide functionality like RHN or ZLM from Novell. Would other folks like to help out with a Current/Yum solution?

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