Zachary Flower

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Top 10 "Yum" installables to be productive as a developer on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is not Ubuntu. Out of the box, it seems the default packages installed for developers are somewhat limited. To provide exceptional long-term stability, Red Hat takes a different approach to default packages and software repositories (repos). Development tools aren’t installed unless specifically selected. The repos that are initially enabled only contain packages that Red Hat supports over the long term lifecycle of RHEL. Because RHEL’s default repos don’t have as large a selection of development tools as other freely available operating systems’ servers, that doesn’t mean you are out of luck. Enabling a few additional repos from Red Hat and a third party makes a wide variety of packages available using the same familiar yum commands.

In preparing to write this article, I spent hours scouring RHEL’s package lists in order to highlight some of the most useful “yum” installables that you can use to supercharge your development productivity. Some are available from the default repos, others require enabling an additional repo which I’ll point out. Here are my top 10.

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Six popular incident management tools for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

From a developer’s perspective, “incident management” can be a pretty ambiguous term. While the first thing that comes to mind is receiving and responding to alerts, most IT professionals know it is so much more than that. Effective incident management starts with data collection and continues through alerting, escalation, collaboration, and resolution. At the server level, the most important pieces of incident management are infrastructure monitoring and log management, the vast majority of which are easily configurable on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system.

When it comes to incident management tools, they can be grouped into two separate categories depending on the security requirements of your organization: internal and external.

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Install Ansible on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

As far as automated configuration management tools go, Ansible is “the new hotness” on the market. I admit, I am pretty new to Ansible. Until recently, the majority of my configuration management experience has been rooted solely in Puppet. Tack onto that my recent foray back into the world of Red Hat and I have a lot to learn, starting with getting Ansible installed and running on RHEL. There are two ways to install Ansible—via yum, or directly from source. Yum is obviously easier. However, in the event you are working in a closed system, compiling from source may be your only option. I’ll cover both in this article.

Via Yum

Ansible is not available in the default RHEL repositories, so we need to install Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) in order to install it via yum. To do so, head on over to and download the newest version of epel-release for your version of RHEL. Once you’ve downloaded that file, navigate to the download location in a terminal and install the RPM using the following command:

sudo rpm -i epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm

After installing EPEL, you need to update your package list. This tells yum about all the new packages you can install.

sudo yum update

And that’s it! Well, not really. We still need to install Ansible, but we’re done with the setup portion. Installing Ansible via yum works much the same way as any other yum package. Simply pop open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo yum install ansible

Now, we are done. To test things out, simply ping your Ansible server on localhost. You should receive a “pong” in response.

ansible localhost -m ping

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Using Vagrant to Get Started with RHEL

Red Hat Linux was the first version of Linux I ever used. Until succumbing to The Cult of Macintosh a few years ago, I was a faithful Red Hat (and later Fedora) junkie. Hell, I still have my 15 year old Red Hat 7.2 discs.

But, as a developer, it has been tough to do any substantial work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) unless working for an organization that has a license. That is, until relatively recently, when Red Hat released the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite for development use. The RHEL Developer Suite provides a free subscription to RHEL for development use only, which means that we (as developers) get access to the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform at zero cost to build big things. (Download it here.)

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