Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the UNC System

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.

Red Hat Network Accounts

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.

Starting in the summer of 2013 our site wide Red Hat contract includes access to Red Hat Support.

As of May, 2005 all RHEL machines under the UNC System contract must use one of the RHN Satellites (or an RHN Proxy) rather than Red Hat’s hosted RHN service. This is part of our contractual agreement with Red Hat. 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.

RHN Account Guidelines

NC State University

At NC State University you will need an RHN account to deploy and maintain RHEL. Realm Linux doesn’t require you to have an RHN account but you may find some of the features useful. 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 and do not have their own RHN Satellite or RHN Proxy. 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 username is your 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 must be in one, and only 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

The GA Satellite is located here:

Getting an Account

To initiate a request for an RHN account please send an email to

with the following information:

  • Preferred User ID (For NCSU accounts this is required to be your unity id).
  • First and Last Name.
  • Email Address.
  • University.
  • Department or Organization.

You will receive an automated confirmation with a support ticket number shortly.

Downloading the RHEL ISOs

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.

RHN Satellite Configuration

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 \


rpm -ihv \

For RHEL 5 you will also need an Installation Number. Use one of the following:

  • RHEL 5 Server: fa60-b924-fa64-f4b9
  • RHEL 5 Client: 7502-4077-7516-1441


NC State University

rpm -ihv \


rpm -ihv \


NC State University

rpm -ihv \


rpm -ihv \

RHN Registration

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. ::

man rhnreg_ks


Our contract with Red Hat requires that the number of people with permission to raise support queries with Red Hat be limited. Not all holders of RHN accounts will be able to create Red Hat support tickets. Therefore, support questions should first be addressed *internally* before elevated to Red Hat.

If you require assistance getting RHEL setup or have other support inquiries please contact your campus RHEL and RHN support personnel using your university’s preferred support ticket tracking tool. Each campus should have 1 or 2 people designated as their Red Hat administrators and they should be able to elevate support tickets if they cannot solve them locally.

The UNCHREL mailing list is where maintenance and various changes with our Red Hat infrastructure are announced and discussed. You may also use that list for internal support. You may post by sending mail to:

For NC State University support tickets can be created by emailing:

Other universities may also use that email address to create a support ticket inside NC State Universities ticket tracking tool. We will attempt to find the right person at your university to handle your request.

 Subscribing to Mailing Lists

To subscribe to the UNCRHEL mailing lists send an email to

with a body of:

subscribe uncrhel

Unsubscribing is just as easy. Use the email account where you receive the mailing list and send an email to the address above with the following in the body of the message:

unsubscribe uncrhel