I've recently fallen into doing more work on LAMP servers, which is pretty new to me. At first it wasn't a problem migrating my preference files, but as I've grown and learned more, my preferences and workflow has become more specific (and less portable*). This morning I was asked to work on an old Red Hat 4 server and it's... it's just so old I don't know what to do with it. Vim 6? Everything installed through RPMForge? Can't even install
tree without having to add repositories? No actual user accounts except root?
/usr/sbin/ aren't even in the root user's path?
This thing was installed once and never modified. Every installed package is from the ice age. The first ice age.
So what do you do in this situation? Should I even bother trying to work on on the server, or is there a better way to go about this?
* - really the only thing that broke is support for the Jellybeans color theme, and my usage of Vim tabs.
edit - I guess the way I posed it was unclear, but the emphasis in the question should be on you. What I'm really trying to get a sense for is what other people would do in a similar situation.
Remember: I'm consulting. It's not my job to reinstall the server. It's not my job to do a security audit and harden the server. It's my job to take vague requirements from a non-technical client running a very old server and make them happen in as little time as possible. That's it.
I'm a developer, not a sysadmin; it's all pretty new to me, and getting it up to speed properly would take more time than I can afford to spend. It's been in production for years; I'm just making modifications.
Do I want this server to be improved? Of course! Would I want this project to be something I'm proud of? Yes! Is that going to happen? No. I'm maintaining old software that I have zero interest in that doesn't even receive a lot of traffic. I just want to do the task in a comfortable way without too much hassle.
edit 2 - after a bit of searching and fiddling around, I eventually mounted what I need locally with sshfs and MacFuse. That way I can stay in the terminal and use a mix of local and remote tools based on what I'm doing.