An update of this article can be found here.

My team here at Red Hat maintains the web server stack in Fedora and RHEL. One of the cool projects we've been working on recently is Software Collections. With RHEL we've always suffered from the tension between offering a stable OS platform to users, and trying to support the latest-and-greatest open source software. Software Collections is a great technology we're using to address that tension. Remi Collet has blogged about the PHP 5.4 software collection (now available in the 1.0 release of our product) over at his blog and on this developer blog. Also, another team member, Jan Kaluza, has been working on a collection of httpd 2.4 for RHEL6 - something we keep hearing requests for in bugzilla.

To kick the wheels of Jan's collection in a RHEL 6.4 VM, here's what I did:

# curl -s > /etc/yum.repos.d/epel-httpd24.repo
# yum install httpd24-httpd
  httpd24-httpd.x86_64 0:2.4.6-5.el6

Dependency Installed:
  httpd24-apr.x86_64 0:1.4.8-2.el6  httpd24-apr-util.x86_64 0:1.5.2-5.el6  httpd24-httpd-tools.x86_64 0:2.4.6-5.el6
  httpd24-runtime.x86_64 0:1-6.el6


This has dropped a complete installation of Apache httpd 2.4.6 into /opt/rh/httpd24 which can be used alongside the httpd 2.2.15 package supported in RHEL 6.4.

# rpm -ql httpd24-httpd | grep sbin

The httpd install is contained inside /opt/rh/httpd24 as far as possible, but we do "leak" into the normal RHEL filesystem in a couple of places - notably to offer an init script. This makes firing up the newly installed 2.4 daemon in my VM as easy as any other service:

# service httpd24-httpd start
Starting httpd:                                            [  OK  ]
# curl -s http://localhost/ | grep 'Test Page for'
		<title>Test Page for the Apache HTTP Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux</title>

That's the httpd packagers' equivalent of getting your program to print "Hello, World" - we're successfully serving the familiar HTML "welcome page" over HTTP on port 80.

I wanted to check whether the SELinux labelling is being applied correctly in the httpd 2.4 collection. Using some /usr/bin/semanage magic, it's actually very simple for us to automatically apply SELinux policy inside software collections using an RPM %post script. Here's one way to check whether it's working:

# ps Zf -C httpd
LABEL                             PID TTY      STAT   TIME COMMAND
unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 1772 ?        Ss     0:00 /opt/rh/httpd24/root/usr/sbin/httpd
unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 1774 ?        S      0:00  _ /opt/rh/httpd24/root/usr/sbin/httpd
unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 1775 ?        S      0:00  _ /opt/rh/httpd24/root/usr/sbin/httpd
unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 1776 ?        S      0:00  _ /opt/rh/httpd24/root/usr/sbin/httpd
unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 1777 ?        S      0:00  _ /opt/rh/httpd24/root/usr/sbin/httpd
unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 1778 ?        S      0:00  _ /opt/rh/httpd24/root/usr/sbin/httpd

Success - those "httpd_t" labels which I've highlighted tell me that httpd processes are running in the correct domain.

Finally, here's a quick demo of one httpd 2.4 feature I really love - an embedded Lua interpreter in the form of mod_lua:

# cat > /opt/rh/httpd24/root/var/www/html/hello.lua <<EOF
function handle(r)
    r.content_type = "text/plain"
    r:puts("Hello Lua World!n")
    return apache2.OK
# echo 'AddHandler lua-script .lua' > /opt/rh/httpd24/root/etc/httpd/conf.d/lua.conf
# service httpd24-httpd reload
Reloading httpd:
# curl -s http://localhost/hello.lua
Hello Lua World!

If you try out this collection, let us know in the comments how you get on.



Last updated: November 2, 2023