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BACKGROUND

So I've been tasked with updating a system from RHEL6.0 to RHEL6.5 via a bootable USB. Due to size limitation, I've stripped (using the rpm -e command to prevent dependency errors) approximately 30 rpms from the text version of 6.5 (significantly smaller than the fuller GUI version). I've swapped the Packages/ of the RHEL6.0 with the slimmer RHEL6.5 and created the bootable USB.

ISSUE

Unfortunately, I'm having problems with the installation of the new OS. When I boot from the USB, RHEL initializes properly (passes all the dependency checks) but when it starts the actual installation, it runs into a error. The error says that a certain RPM is missing. However, that specific rpm is in fact loaded in the Packages/ but with an updated version number. For example, it will ask for passwd-0.77.**4***.rpm (which exists on 6.0) but I need to update it to passwd-0.77.**5***.rpm (may not be exactly those numbers, but you get the idea).

SOLUTION

Is there some master file that the installer checks for the version number of the RPMs? Or perhaps there is a certain RPM that contains the version numbers for all the other RPMs? I've check the repodata/*.xml with little success (it appears to most have files pertaining to different world languages as well as the database entry for each of the RPMs).

BONUS

Is there a list of 'mandatory' RPMs that Red Hat needs to have in order to install the OS? I've seen the mandatory keyword pop up in repodata/*-comps-rhel6-Workstation.xml (you might need to gunzip it beforehand) but the file seems to be focused mainly on the RPMs based on world languages. There's a bunch of these 'mandatory' RPMs located under a section called 'core'. Can anyone reassure me that these are the RPMs needed to install the most basic text version of Red Hat?

TL;DR

How do I change the version number that Red Hat looks for during installation of the OS?

  • If you spend a couple of hundred dollars on RHEL support, the handful of dollars to buy a USB thumb drive large enough to hold the RHEL 6.5 ISO image should not be cost prohibitive. Alternatively run rhn-register and do a yum upgrade online. – HBruijn Jun 17 '14 at 14:42
  • While I would love to do this, I'm required to create a bootable USB with the new 6.5 RPMs so that when a system is booted off the USB, the new 6.5 RPMs are installed. Also, I don't think the systems have the capability to use yum at all (no command line to speak of on the systems). – skamazin Jun 17 '14 at 15:11
  • dd if=rhel.iso of=/dev/usbdevice where the ISO is the RHEL 6.5 installer you download from Red Hat, which includes the rpm packages you need. The installer will boot and detect an existing RHEL 6 install and then offer an upgrade. If it needs to be completely unattended, take a look at the kickstart options for a scripted install/upgrade. – HBruijn Jun 17 '14 at 15:22
  • I would need to eliminate some RPMs to fit into the size constraint, do you think this approach will still work? – skamazin Jun 17 '14 at 17:03
  • Yes you can copy the installer dvd image to a file system, crudely remove some redundant packages and convert it back to a bootable image. IIRC you need to match the kernel that gets booted to the RHEL release that's being deployed, which is why simply copying new RPM to the RHEL 6.0 USB device doesn't quite work. – HBruijn Jun 17 '14 at 18:26
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Just in case anyone else ever has to the same thing I did here, I'll answer my own question.

1) Get the binary DVD iso image from redhat.com

2) Remove unnecessary rpms (GNOME, eclipse) so that it is less than 4GB (this allows it to be stored on a FAT32 filesystem)

-copy this iso onto a USB

3) Remove the iso image that comes with the previous bootable USB

4) Now plug in the bootable USB (the one with the boot files but no ISO image) to the target machine

5) You'll run into a "Missing ISO 9660 Error" which you then plug in and mount the USB with the newer version of RedHat

6) Once installation has completed, copy the /root/install.log

7) Slim the RedHat iso further by incorporating only the rpms found in the install.log

8) Copy this slimmer RedHat iso onto the bootable USB and you'll have a bootable USB that uses the new rpms (updated OS)

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