The UNC System has acquired a site license for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). This site will help you get familiar with this product and what you need to do to access RHEL. We will cover access for NC State University and universities that access RHEL from the UNC GA directly. Other universities in the UNC System may have their own access methods, so talk to your local IT staff.
For NC State there will also be some snippets of information about Realm Linux, which is based on RHEL products, where it differs from these access methods.
The Red Hat Network (RHN) controls access to errata, security updates, and is what keeps track of our usage of RHEL. Below are the guide lines for acquiring an RHN account to register and manage a collection of RHEL or Realm Linux machines.
As of May, 2005 all RHEL machines under the UNC System contract must use one of the RHN Satellites rather than Red Hat’s hosted RHN service. The following will help you get setup with NC State University’s RHN Satellite or the UNC GA Satellite although other universities in the system may have their own Satellite.
At NC State University you will need an RHN account to deploy and maintain RHEL and (optionally) Realm Linux machines. RHN accounts are restricted to full time IT staff and those sponsored by a full time IT staffer. Your account and password will be the same as your Unity user name and password. The NCSU RHN Satellite URL is below.
When installing Realm Linux with Web-Kickstart you are not required to have an RHN account. You will only need an RHN Activation Key used to register the machine with RHN. These keys are usually specific to an IT group so you or another member of the group may be responsible for acquiring these keys and access to RHN.
Accounts on the GA Satellite are provided for IT staffers at UNC universities that participate in the Red Hat contract(s) and do not have their own Satellite. Normally, one or two full time IT staffers at each university are chosen to lead the Red Hat infrastructure for that university and are given permissions to create further accounts for others at the same university. These people serve as the local contact point for accounts and RHN support.
As the GA Satellite is shared between multiple universities we issue user names that start with the abbreviation of the university. For example:
Where jjneely is my username at NC State University. Your password is also unique to the GA Satellite. Groups inside the RHN server are named in a similar way. For example the PAMS Computer Operations unit at NC State might have the following as their group name:
All universities must have a set of groups and each registration or machine should be in one RHN group. This is easily handled by making sure that all RHN accounts are setup with 2 explicit settings. Under the System Groups tab for that RHN account there must be one or more groups assigned to that user. This controls what machines that user can see and manage. At the bottom of the System Groups page there is a setting for “Default System Group.” This must be set to one, and only one, of the groups that the RHN user has access to. These are marked in the list with an asterisk.
The GA Satellite is located here:
To initiate a request for an RHN account please send an email to
with the following information:
You will receive an automated confirmation with a support ticket number shortly.
The RHEL CD ISO images are available for UNC System IP addresses. If you are on a campus you should be able to download the ISOs from the following web site.
DVD ISO images are available for UNC System IP addresses via BitTorrent. You will find the torrents on this website.
Once your RHEL machine is installed, or perhaps from the Kickstart for automated installations, you need to configure your machine to use the correct RHN Satellite. You can do this by installing one of the following RPM packages depending on the Satellite you will use.
If you install RHEL manually (not using a Kickstart) you will be prompted to register the machine with RHN during the graphical boot process. This tool does not have the ability to properly configure your machine for the NCSU or UNC GA RHN Satellite. Please skip that step read onwards.
These packages will install the SSL certificate for a specific RHN Satellite and alter your system’s configuration to point to this Satellite. Also, RPM PGP keys will be imported that can be used to verify this RPM and any future updates. A Yum repository will also be configured so that your machine will pull down future versions of the configuration package in case an important bit of the configuration needs updating like the SSL certificates.
There is a specific RPM package for each supported RHEL version and each Satellite. The command to install the correct package is given below.
NC State University:
rpm -ihv \ http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/CLS/UNCRHEL/5/base/noarch/rhn-org-ncsu-1.0-3.EL5.noarch.rpm
rpm -ihv \ http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/CLS/UNCRHEL/5/base/noarch/rhn-org-uncga-1.0-3.EL5.noarch.rpm
For RHEL 5 you will also need an Installation Number. Use one of the following:
NC State University:
rpm -ihv \ http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/CLS/UNCRHEL/6/base/noarch/rhn-org-ncsu-1.0-3.el6.noarch.rpm
rpm -ihv \ http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/CLS/UNCRHEL/6/base/noarch/rhn-org-uncga-1.0-3.el6.noarch.rpm
Now that your machine is properly configured you must register your machine with RHN to receive updates and security errata. To do so, as root, run:
This will prompt you graphically or via the text console with several questions to get you registered.
To register inside a script or a Red Hat Kickstart use:
This program has many options documented in its man page.
If you require assistance getting RHEL setup please attempt to contact your campus RHEL and RHN support personnel. Otherwise you may participate in the UNCRHEL mailing list. You may post by sending mail to:
Support tickets can be creating by emailing: