Jul 15, 2014

RHEL from a Windows guy

As ironic as it sounds, it wasnt until just a few months ago that I finally learned what RHEL stood for. That's 1994 - 2014. Nearly 20 years of blissful ignorance..

Now, I have a task to test a set of Chef recipes on RHEL 6.5 ... in Japanese.

So... questions are - 
1) How do I install RHEL?
2) How do I get it into Japanese?

... this is going to be as much of a brain dump, as a manual for myself to retrace my steps so that I can write a Chef cookbook automate everything when the time comes..

For the record - My workstation is a mac running OSX 10.9.4

1 - Getting RHEL box up.

Apparently you need some special license which you have to pay for. And I know nothing about it... nor does it have anything to do with what i'm trying to do. So to get some lift, I went with AWS.

Login, EC2 -> New server -> RHEL 6.5 -> Micro. Alternatively, you could spin up a CentOS box from http://www.vagrantbox.es/ which will be *almost* the exact same thing, but not really. So to avoid duplication I wanted actual RHEL. Also, you can use knife-ec2.

Even that has a tiny yak that one must shave.
  a) create an AWS key (aka AIM)
  b) save it locally
  c) fail to SSH using the key
  d) Google to find out that you need to change permissions on the key
  e) CHMOD the pem key 
  f) ssh success

Ok. I'm in, now to validate if my RHEL is the actual version I need it to be.
   a) attempt a few obvious commands.
   b) fail
   c) google (http://serverfault.com/questions/89654/what-version-of-rhel-am-i-using)
   d) lsb_release -i -r
   e) above fails on some boxes, one alternative is to cat /etc/redhat-release

2 - How do I get it into Japanese

a) google...official documentation
b) read - https://access.redhat.com/site/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/5/pdf/International_Language_Support_Guide/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux-5-International_Language_Support_Guide-en-US.pdf

Per kickstart docs, installation doesn't support Japanese / Chinese / few other languages, and defaults to English, which is great. One less test case to worry about and theoretically I won't have to deal with Kickstart since all configs can be done post OS.

On a related note, it sounds like there are 4 language settings:
* keyboard
* UI
* shell
* runtime  
btw - example kickstart files can be found here -

c) fail.. system-config-language does not exist
..) google... http://linux-com.blogspot.com/2011/05/red-hatfedora-system-config-tools-guide.html
..) sudo yum install system-config-language
So.. i have no idea what the root password is, and I don't feel like resetting it or using EC2 UI again..
..) sudo su - 
..) system-config-language
..) scroll down..... tab tab.. ok!
..) Everything's still in English. now what? 

Turns out that by default, many linux distros will take on the locale of the system initiating the SSH connection. So there are a couple of other configuration steps needed to be done:

So in Summary:

  • lsb_release -i -r   or    cat /etc/redhat-release
  • sudo su -
  • yum install system-config-keyboard
  • yum install system-config-language
  • system-config-keyboard (should obviously be done first, otherwise the language selection is in Japanese.)
  • system-config-language
  • modify "keytable" value in  keyboard setting file /etc/sysconfig/keyboard (set it to jp106)

Keyboard maps available maps here -- /lib/kbd/keymaps/i386/qwerty/jp106.map.gz

Good discussion on the topic:
Finally found something very useful...confirming my suspicions that changes were only temporary unless some file was actually modified to set them in stone:

-------------random unarranged stuff below this line -----------

3 - other stuff

bootstrapping AWS box is a little bit tricker now than it was a few months ago
gotta use the pem key, so you can literally grab the -i switch from SSH command and dump it into knife bootstrap

knife bootstrap 54.208.333.333 -x ec2-user -i ../../Projects/Amazon/alex.pem --sudo

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