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I'm using a third party proprietary application on CentOS 5.4, which is known to malfunction on pristine 5.9 or later. I would like to incrementally upgrade to the latest CentOS version where that application works. Since yum update brings me to 5.9 right away, that's not an option. I thought of burning all four Install-DVDs 5.5 through 5.8 and installing each to find out the hard way where the breakage sets in, but maybe there's an easier way frobbing the /etc/yum.conf.d files to go from 5.4 to 5.5 etc. Can anyone provide some guidance?

(Sadly, it is not an option to ask the vendor of that application for a fix, since it was acquired by a big blue company and terminated a little while after that.)

Edit:

Further investigation revealed it is an incompatibility in the GNU C library. With glibc-2.5-58 the app runs fine on CentOS 5.9, with stock glibc-2.5-107 it hangs. I now point LD_LIBRARY_PATH at the older glibc when running the app.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think you could treat the first CentOS installation DVD as a repository, i.e. loop-mount a DVD iso image as /media/cdrom, set the baseurl of one repository to file:///media/cdrom and tell yum to ignore the other repos. Create a /etc/yum.repos.d/CentOS-Media.repo containing these lines:

[c5-media]
name=CentOS-$releasever - Media
baseurl=file:///media/cdrom/
gpgcheck=1
enabled=1
gpgkey=file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-CentOS-5

and tell yum to use this repo only:

yum --disablerepo=\* --enablerepo=c5-media install lynx

(See this for reference.)

Caveat 1: This will fail if RPMs from DVD 2of2 are needed; not sure if there's a workaround. Caveat 2: It's a bit of a waste of bandwidth, though, since you need the whole DVD just to update a few packages from the specific version. HTTPFS, if it works as advertised, could be of great benefit here (I've never tried it).

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CentOS (as it is cloned from RHEL) doesn't really have a "version 5.9", this is essentially version 5 plus all the updates up to the moment when 5.9 is cut to create a new set of installation media. So to find out exactly how this third party application is broken you will have to find out what it depends on, and update that (and any dependencies) from the various CentOS media (as I very much doubt the old packages are still around in a repository somewhere). It is perhaps simpler to just do a installation (in a virtual machine?) using a kickstart file to set it up each time, and test. BTW, use the binary search idea: It works on 5, breaks on 9 ~~-> try (5 + 9) / 2 = 7 next.

What is this about? What are the symptoms of breakage? Perhaps if you ask a more specific question (as a new question) somebody might help...

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The app is an emulator to run Solaris/SPARC binaries on x86_64. On 6.x it immediately segfaults; on 5.9 it just hangs and fills the process table with a process for every fork. Stracing was inconclusive as to what was going on. The app does pretty magic (kernel) stuff, it appears, and requires some helper daemon to run. Switching to QEMU is not an option at this time. –  Jens Mar 12 '13 at 16:17
    
Perhaps it is just kernel-version sensitive? Just using an old kernel on otherwise up-to-date CentOS 5 isn't a too bright idea, but it might save the day... –  vonbrand Mar 12 '13 at 16:32
    
Further investigation revealed it is an incompatibility in the GNU C library. With glibc-2.5-58 the app runs fine on CentOS 5.9, with stock glibc-2.5-107 it hangs. I now point LD_LIBRARY_PATH at the older glibc when running the app. –  Jens Mar 16 '13 at 9:06
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