How to update Novell / Micro Focus

The University of Oxford has a site licence for Open Enterprise Server products (OES1 and OES2). It is possible to run SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and 10 (SLES, SELS9 and SLES10) without the OES components under this license and still obtain updates under this agreement. Obtaining updates for OES1 and OES2 is different for each version and from SLES products.


Applies to: OES1 running on SLES9

Installation and Prerequisites

OES1/SLES9 is no longer available for download from the evaluation site, but from the Novell download site, for which you will need a portal login.

Once installed you will need to configure the product in order to obtain updates. For OES1/SLES9, updates are obtained direct from Novell using Red Carpet, rather than via the YaST Online Updates used by a pure SLES installation.

Be aware that it is quite possible to install OES/SLES in such a way as to break updating. If you accepted the default software installation type of OES, you should be safe. However, if you changed the default type, or made alterations to the packages being installed, you could have problems. You should check that the following components are installed, and if any are missing, install them:

  • rcd (daemon)
  • rug (command line interface)
  • red carpet (gui interface)
  • oes-release package

If you have to install the Red Carpet components, you also need to make sure that rcd is set to automatic startup. You can check this via

chkconfig rcd

and if this is off, change startup to automatic via

chkconfig -a rcd

Automating Updates

In order to download and install updates automatically, you can use cron to schedule the update using the following command

rug update -y oes

The cron job should run as root.

Installing Service Packs

Service packs cannot be installed via Red Carpet. Instead, the OES+SP CDs should be used.

Configuring Updates

Once you have checked that the Red Carpet components are installed and active, you will need a code. This is currently available from the ITSS restricted facilities pages. This code may only be used on systems owned by Oxford University departments, colleges and other units.

The instructions for configuring access to patches are currently available from Novell here. Note that the location does change periodically (e.g. after a service pack). If they have disappeared, go to the OES documentation index page instead and look for an entry such as "Updating OES Software" or "Patching a Server Using the ZLM Channel from the Command Line (rug)". As you follow the instructions, at some point you will need to activate the oes update channel. This is done via the command

rug act -s service_list_number activation_code email_address

The service_list_number will be 1, and the email_address should be a valid email address that can be used to contact you. However, it does not actually matter what the email address is, and it does not have to be linked to a Novell or SuSE portal account.

Note that all Novell documentation and TIDs that refer to updating OES do not recommend using the Red Carpet GUI. Only the command line interface is supported in OES1 SP1.

Once you have activated the update channel, follow the Novell instructions to subscribe to the OES channel and to list, download and install patches.


Applies to: SLES9 standalone server

Updates to SLES 9 without OES are managed via YaST Online Updates (YOU) rather than via Red Carpet. Originally for SLES 9 the process of allowing people to access these updates direct from Novell was problematic. As a result IT Services set up a local YOU server. This is run on a best effort basis, and can be accessed once you have obtained a code as per instructions for Open Enterprise Server. Please contact us if you are considering running SLES in your environment.

Upgrading from SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 to 10

It is possible to do an in place upgrade from SLES 9 to SLES 10. Please be aware that whilst this is a possible and supported route, the decision do so is entirely personal. One consequence of performing an in place upgrade is that the former Red Carpet patches and catalogues continue to exist within /var/cache/rcd. To save space the cache can be deleted before or after upgrading. Though this is not required; SLES 10 only uses ZLM for updates.

OES2 on SLES10

Applies to: OES2 running on SLES10, and SLES10 standalone server

Installation and Prerequisites

SLES 10 can still be installed as a standalone server, but OES2 components will only run on a SLES 10 server. The installation procedure has changed since OES SP1 OES components may now be installed:

  • at SLES 10 Install time as an add on product
  • by selecting the OES patterns from the YaST installation menu
  • following completion of the SLES 10 install procedure

Whilst it is possible to successfully install OES after completion of the SLES 10 components it may be advisable to install OES at install time to avoid possible version conflicts later.

Configuring Updates

Before updates can be configured for either method a code is required. The code is entered in the Novell Customer Care applet via YaST. Once this is done Online updates may be run manually or configured to auto update via YaST or Rug.

Configuring Updates Via Rug

This is done in the same way as for the instructions for OES1

Configuring Updates Via YaST

This is a very simple procedure. Configure Customer Care Centre information, and run the updates either from YaST or using the YOU icon on the desktop.

From YaST choose Novell Customer Care Centre, after clicking on Configure now, the server tries to contact Novell, and starts to build a catalogue, this may take some time. This will allow you to enter your code (previously obtained from Richard Saxton). If you keep the default setting "regularly synchronise with the customer care centre" your catalogue will be kept up to date with information about new patches to download.

After entering your code click on the YOU icon (a globe surrounded by red and blue circular arrows) in the task bar. This icon changes to an orange exclamation mark when there are new updates and patches. Clicking on this starts the update procedure.

YOU can also be invoked via the YaST menu, Automatic Online Update.

Automating Updates

Patching is much smoother and better integrated for both OES 2 and SLES 10 components than previously. Both the YaST (gui) and Rug (command line) methods actually use ZLM; Red Carpet is no longer used. This has lead to greater ease and consistency of patching and updating.

It is recommended that only one interface Rug or YaST Online Update be used. Running the YaST Online Update interface through the gui or command line provides a consistent approach to patching, and is the preferred route for both OES2 and SLES 10.

Although both Rug and YOU use the same catalogue files, the method by which how patches were installed is not marked, the catalogue are thus viewed differently by each mechanism. Once a method is chosen therefore it is recommended that only this method is used to avoid possible inconsistencies.

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