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8.4.3. Using Yum Variables

You can use and reference the following built-in variables in yum commands and in all Yum configuration files (that is, /etc/yum.conf and all .repo files in the /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory):
You can use this variable to reference the release version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Yum obtains the value of $releasever from the distroverpkg=value line in the /etc/yum.conf configuration file. If there is no such line in /etc/yum.conf, then yum infers the correct value by deriving the version number from the redhat-release-server package. The value of $releasever typically consists of the major release number and the variant of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for example 6Client, or 6Server.
You can use this variable to refer to the system's CPU architecture as returned when calling Python's os.uname() function. Valid values for $arch include i686 and x86_64.
You can use $basearch to reference the base architecture of the system. For example, i686 machines have a base architecture of i386, and AMD64 and Intel 64 machines have a base architecture of x86_64.
These ten variables are each replaced with the value of any shell environment variables with the same name. If one of these variables is referenced (in /etc/yum.conf for example) and a shell environment variable with the same name does not exist, then the configuration file variable is not replaced.
To define a custom variable or to override the value of an existing one, create a file with the same name as the variable (without the $ sign) in the /etc/yum/vars/ directory, and add the desired value on its first line.
For example, repository descriptions often include the operating system name. To define a new variable called $osname, create a new file with Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the first line and save it as /etc/yum/vars/osname:
~]# echo "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" > /etc/yum/vars/osname
Instead of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, you can now use the following in the .repo files:
name=$osname $releasever