Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is the Linux operating system sold and supported by Red Hat for corporate and enterprise use. To receive patches and support after the initial purchase, an annual support fee must be paid to Red Hat. 

The University of Iowa maintains subscriptions for RHEL Client and Server on behalf of University students, faculty, and staff. Contact the ITS Campus Software Program to acquire a license.

With RHEL 5, here are now two offerings, Client (which could be Desktop or Workstation) or Server.

Client Offerings

  • Red Hat offers 4 flavors of the Client software:
  • Basic supports 1 CPU, 4GB of memory, but no virtualization
  • Multi OS supports 1 CPU, 4GB of memory and virtualization (4 guests max)
  • Workstation supports 2 CPU's, Unlimited Memory, but no virtualization
  • Workstation + Multi OS Supports 2 CPU's, Unlimited Memory, and Unlimited Virtualization guests

The first two also exclude server applications such as Apache, Samba, and NFS. More information can be found here:

We have not heard from Red Hat what versions we'll be offering to replace the old WS. The implication is the Installation Number will vary depending upon what you're allowed to install, but we're not 100% sure of that. We don't know at this point if you can install Workstation software on a Basic system once you're connected to the Satellite.

Server Offerings:

Red Hat offers 2 levels of Server Software, with optional packages on top of them.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 
Supports servers with up to 2 processor sockets
Available for 32/64-bit x86, Itanium2, IBM POWER
Available with Basic, Standard or Premium support
Supports 4 virtual guests

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform 
Supports servers of any size
Available for 32/64-bit x86, Itanium2, IBM POWER
Available with Standard or Premium support
Supports unlimited virtual guests and storage virtualization

More information can be found on the Red Hat Linux Purchasing Guide.

RHEL 5 requires an Installation Number as part of the install (Client or Server versions); this is how RHN determines which channels to subscribe your system to. You can skip entering this number, but you'll be severely limited as to what you can install or update with RHN if you do.

Please note that this number is not the same as the Activation Key you use to register your machine with our RHN Satellite. You'll need both numbers for RHEL 5 installs.

The Fedora Project is an open-source and Red Hat sponsored project which provides a version of Linux that may be used without an annual fee. For details, see:

Note: Fedora is not available for the UI RHN service.

Any University department managing RHEL Client or Server systems may request licenses and an account for the UI RHN service from the ITS Campus Software Program.

In general, the UI RHN service provides access to RHEL software which is still within its Red Hat "lifecycle". To see the specific channels available, log into your UI RHN account and select the "Channels" tab.

Contact the ITS Help Desk to request a new UI RHN channel.

To use the UI RHN service, you must first be authorized. Once authorized, you can use your Hawk ID and password to authenticate.

The following support is available for the UI RHN service:

  • Access the on-line help within the UI RHN service via the "Help" tab.
  • If you are in the College of Engineering or Division of Mathematical Sciences, contact your local support team.
  • Search or post to the rhn-users mailing list at:
  • Search or open a support ticket with the Red Hat bug-tracking system at:
  • Contact the ITS Help Desk to open a support request.

In addition to the above, there is also a local mailing list called UIOWA-LINUX-RHN. This mailing list is primarily used for UI RHN service announcements, but may also be used to discuss the service.

When a new UI RHN account is created, the owner is automatically added to the UIOWA-LINUX-RHN mailing list. Other e-mail addresses may be added by request, but only if the requestor works for a University department using the UI RHN service.

For general campus Linux discussion, the UIOWA-LINUX mailing list is available. See for more information on joining a University Listserv.

The channels and errata update on the UI RHN service between midnight and 02:30 hours every day.

If you are using RHEL 3 or 4, log into the client system as root and type: rhn_check –v.

If you are using RHEL 5 Client or Server, log into the system as root and type: yum update.

Some possible causes include:

  • The system may be off the network, perhaps because it’s a laptop.
  • The "rhnsd" process may not be running on the system.
  • A duplicate, ghost entry may have been created if you re-registered the system (see next question).

Every time the Red Hat OS is installed, or re-installed, it creates a unique system id (located in /etc/sysconfig/rhn) that is then passed along to the Satellite during the bootstrap process.

If you do not have a departmental license (e.g. you are a home user) and plan on reinstalling the OS, you need to first have the old system deleted from UI RHN by someone at the Campus Software Office before you try to re-register the system with the UI Satellite. If the old system is not deleted before the "new" system is registered you will get an error from the UI Satellite, and the registration/bootstrap process will fail.

If you have a departmental license for Red Hat, you should log into UI RHN, delete the old system, and then re-register the newly installed version.

ISO images for the latest version of RHEL are available via the ITS Software Download Site:

If the software or hardware distribution you require isn't listed, open a support request with the ITS Help Desk. Please include complete software and hardware version information (e.g., Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server version 5 for 32-bit x86 hardware or RHEL Client version 5 for 64-bit AMD hardware).

The UI RHN service has a standing weekly downtime window of 2:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. every Thursday morning. ITS may or may not make use of this time to perform maintenance on the system as needed. When and where possible, ITS will make a best effort to notify users (via the UIOWA-LINUX-RHN@LIST.UIOWA.EDU mailing list) of planned work during this downtime window; however, we advise customers not to plan their own maintenance or other business functions that may depend on the UI RHN service during this window.

Starting with RHEL 5, the RHN Applet is no longer utilized. Instead use either yum from the command line, or from the desktop, access Applications, System Tools, Software Updater. If you have not already registered your RHEL 5 Client with the UI RHN service, you will need to do so before using the Software Updater. See: 

License count increases are handled by the ITS Campus Software Program. You'll need to provide your RHN group name and the number of additional licenses you require. A confirmation e-mail will be sent when the increase is completed.

Annual renewal is done by ITS on behalf of the University. There is no annual fee for RHEL WS licenses as they are fully funded by ITS. An annual fee is collected for RHEL ES and AS licenses. (Contact the ITS Campus Software Program for more details.)

The UI RHN service does not support source RPM download, however they are available from Red Hat: 

Article number: 
Last updated: 
April 27, 2017