Open Source Software and GNU/Linux


This article discusses some of the workings of open source software with particular reference to the Linux kernel and GNU. It will explain some of the processes involved for those of us who know Linux but are not software engineers. Perhaps you are an Linux administrator or enthusiast, but find yourself unsure of terms such as upstream, downstream, mainline, patch, merge and other words developers love to bandy ? Read on.

Open Source Software

If you are a Linux user, you might be familiar with installing software using yum or apt-get. For example Continue reading

http_proxy in Red Hat 5

This post is about setting the http_proxy environment variable in Red Hat 5. Newer versions of the OS allow the variable to be set in either of two ways, that is:

# export http_proxy=
# export http_proxy=

Both will work. A subsequent call to yum will read the http_proxy environment variable and act on it, using the named proxy to obtain a network connection to the relevant repository. I have tested this successfully on Red Hat 5.7.

Yum Failures

Older versions of Red Hat 5 are more fussy. RHEL 5.4 will allow the first form above (export http_proxy=, but use the second form and yum will barf extravagantly, leaving you with a lengthy Python trace back. Continue reading