How to enable sudo on RHEL

You’ve probably seen tutorials that use sudo for running administrative commands as root. However when you try it, you get told your user ID is “not in the sudoers file, this incident will be reported.”  For developers, sudo can be very useful for running steps that require root access in build scripts.

This article covers:

  • How to configure sudo access on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) so you won’t need to use su and keep entering the root password
  • Configuring sudo to not ask for your password
  • How to enable sudo during system installation
  • Why sudo seems to work out of the box for some users and not others

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How to install Python 3 on RHEL

This article shows how to install Python 3, pip, venv, virtualenv, and pipenv on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. After following the steps in this article, you should be in a good position to follow many Python guides and tutorials using RHEL.

Using Python virtual environments is a best practice to isolate project-specific dependencies and create reproducible environments. Other tips and FAQs for working with Python and software collections on RHEL 7 are also covered.

There are a number of different ways to get Python 3 installed on RHEL. This article uses Red Hat Software Collections because these give you a current Python installation that is built and supported by Red Hat. During development, support might not seem that important to you. However, support is important to those who have to deploy and operate the applications you write. To understand why this is important, consider what happens when your application is in production and a critical security vulnerability in a core library (for example SSL/TLS) is discovered. This type of scenario is why many enterprises use Red Hat.

Python 3.6 is used in this article. It was the most recent, stable release when this was written. However, you should be able to use these instructions for any of the versions of Python in Red Hat Software Collections including 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, and future collections such as 3.7.

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How to install Clang/LLVM 5 and GCC 7 on RHEL

If you are developing with C/C++, Clang tools and newer versions of GCC can be quite helpful for checking your code and giving you better warnings and error messages to help avoid bugs. The newer compilers have better optimizations and code generation.

You can easily install the latest-supported Clang and GCC compilers for C, C++, Objective-C, and FORTRAN using yum on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  These compilers are available as software collections that are typically updated twice a year. The May 2018 update included Clang/LLVM 5 and GCC 7.3, as well as Go and Rust.

If you want your default gcc to always be GCC 7, or you want clang to always be in your path, this article shows how to permanently enable a software collection by adding it to the profile (dot files) for your user account. A number of common questions about software collections are also answered.

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How to install Python Flask on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

I recently got my zero-dollar developer copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL, version 7.5) and built a virtual machine (VM) to run it. There it was, on my PC, running in VirtualBox…a gleaming, shiny, brand-spanking-new VM running RHEL. Whatever shall I do with it?

Then I got the idea: I’ll install the Red Hat Container Development Kit (CDK) and build some Python-based containers. I’ll use Flask, a terrific microframework that makes building RESTful services easy.

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Making the Operation of Code More Transparent and Obvious with SystemTap

You can study source code and manually instrument functions as described in the “Use the dynamic tracing tools, Luke” blog article, but why not make it easier to find key points in the software by adding user-space markers to the application code? User-space markers have been available in Linux for quite some time (since 2009). The inactive user-space markers do not significantly slow down the code. Having them available allows you to get a more accurate picture of what the software is doing internally when unexpected issues occur. The diagnostic instrumentation can be more portable with the user-space markers, because the instrumentation does not need to rely on instrumenting particular function names or lines numbers in source code. The naming of the instrumentation points can also make clearer what event is associated with a particular instrumentation point.

For example, Ruby MRI on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 has a number of different instrumentation points made available as a SystemTap tapset. If SystemTap is installed on the system, as described by What is SystemTap and how to use it?, the installed Ruby MRI instrumentation points can be listed with the stap -L” command shown below. These events show the start and end of various operations in the Ruby runtime, such as the start and end of garbage collection (GC) marking and sweeping.

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“Use the dynamic tracing tools, Luke”

A common refrain for tracking down issues on computer systems running open source software is “Use the source, Luke.” Reviewing the source code can be helpful in understanding how the code works, but the static view may not give you a complete picture of how things work (or are broken) in the code. The paths taken through code are heavily data dependent. Without knowledge about specific values at key locations in code, you can easily miss what is happening. Dynamic instrumentation tools, such as SystemTap, that trace and instrument the software can help provide a more complete understanding of what the code is actually doing

I have wanted to better understand how the Ruby interpreter works. This is an opportunity to use SystemTap to investigate Ruby MRI internals on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. The article What is SystemTap and how to use it? has more information about installing SystemTap. The x86_64 RHEL 7 machine has ruby-2.0.0648-33.el7_4.x86_64.rpm installed, so the matching debuginfo RPM is installed to provide SystemTap with information about function parameters and to provide me with human-readable source code. The debuginfo RPM is installed by running the following command as root:

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Expanding architectural choices to better arm Red Hat Enterprise Linux developers

Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to deliver the best possible experience for enterprise system administrators and developers, as well as provide a solid foundation for moving workloads into both public and private clouds. One of the ways to enable such ubiquity is Red Hat’s multi-architecture initiative, which focuses on bringing Red Hat’s software portfolio to different hardware architectures.

Last week, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 went live. It brought forward several improvements relevant to developers and system administrators such as advanced GUI system management via the Cockpit console, which should help new Linux administrators, developers, and Windows users to perform expert tasks without having to get into the command line.

This release also marks a new milestone for Red Hat Enterprise Linux: all supported architectures are now simultaneously enabled. The list of supported architectures includes x86_64, PowerPC Big Endian and Little Endian, s390x, and the more recently introduced 64-bit Arm and IBM POWER9 architectures.

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Deallocate an Azure VM Using the Azure CLI on RHEL

If you’re running Red Hat Enterprise Linux server on Microsoft Azure, you may want to shut down and deallocate the VM using commands inside of the VM itself for automation or just for convenience. On Azure, if you shut down the VM by using shutdown -h or another OS command, it will stop but not deallocate it.  The stopped VM is still using resources and will continue to incur compute charges. To avoid that, this article shows how a VM can shut itself down and deallocate its resources using the Azure CLI 2.0.

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Non-root Open vSwitch in RHEL

In a few weeks, the Fast Datapath Production channel will update the Open vSwitch version from the 2.7 series to the 2.9 series. This is an important change in more ways than one. A wealth of new features and fixes all related to packet movement will come into play. One that will surely be blamed for all your troubles will be the integration of the `–ovs-user` flag to allow for an unprivileged user to interact with Open vSwitch.

Running as root can solve a lot of pesky problems. Want to write to an arbitrary file? No problem. Want to load kernel modules? Go for it! Want to sniff packets on the wire? Have a packet dump. All of these are great when the person commanding the computer is the rightful owner. But the moment the person in front of the keyboard isn’t the rightful owner, problems occur.

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Open vSwitch-DPDK: How Much Hugepage Memory?

Introduction

In order to maximize performance of the Open vSwitch DPDK datapath, it pre-allocates hugepage memory. As a user you are responsible for telling Open vSwitch how much hugepage memory to pre-allocate. The question of exactly what value to use often arises. The answer is, it depends.

There is no simple answer as it depends on things like the MTU size of the ports, the MTU differences between ports, and whether those ports are on the same NUMA node. Just to complicate things a bit more, there are multiple overheads, and alignment and rounding need to be accounted for at various places in OVS-DPDK. Everything clear? OK, you can stop reading then!
However, if not, read on.

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