2.5. Registering with Activation Keys

In addition to the standard Red Hat Update Agent interface, up2date offers a utility aimed at batch processing system registrations: activation keys. Each unique key can be used to register Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems, entitle them to an RHN service level, and subscribe them to specific channels and system groups, all in one action. This automation bypasses entitlement and registration via Red Hat Network Registration Client and Red Hat Update Agent.
Alternatively, both the Red Hat Network Registration Client and Red Hat Update Agent offer the activation keys utility rhnreg_ks as part of their packages.

Note

Systems running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 need version 2.9.3-1 or higher of the rhn_register package. It is highly recommended that you obtain the latest version before using activation keys.
Before using an activation key you must first generate one through the RHN website. Refer to Section 6.4.6, “Activation Keys — for precise steps.
To use an activation key, run the following command as root from a shell prompt on the system to be registered:
rhnreg_ks --activationkey=7202f3b7d218cf59b764f9f6e9fa281b
The precise value of the activation key varies.
Systems running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 substitute the --serialnumber option for the --activationkey option:
rhnreg_ks --serialnumber=7202f3b7d218cf59b764f9f6e9fa281b
In addition, Provisioning-entitled systems may use multiple activation keys at once, either at the command line or within kickstart profiles. This allows Administrators to include a variety of values without creating a special key for the desired results. To do this, specify the keys separated by commas, like this:
rhnreg_ks --activationkey=7202f3b7d218cf59b764f9f6e9fa281b,\ 39f41081f0329c20798876f37cb9p6a3

Note

The trailing backslash (\) in this command example is a continuation character; it may safely be omitted.
Refer to Section 6.4.6.2, “Using Multiple Activation Keys at Once — to understand how differences in activation keys are handled.
The above command performs all the actions of the Red Hat Network Registration Client and the registration function of the Red Hat Update Agent. Do not run either of these applications for registration after running rhnreg_ks.
A System Profile, including software and hardware information, is created for the system and sent to the RHN Servers along with the unique activation key. The system is registered with RHN under the account used to generate the key, entitled to an RHN service offering, and subscribed to the RHN channels and system groups selected during key generation. The system is not subscribed to channels that contain packages unsuitable for the system. For example, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 system cannot be subscribed to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 channel.
The unique Digital Certificate for the system is generated on the system in the file /etc/sysconfig/rhn/systemid.
When using activation keys to assign channels, consider these rules:
  • A key may specify either zero or one base channel. If specified, it must be a custom base channel. If not, the base channel corresponding to the system's Red Hat distribution is chosen. For instance, you may not subscribe a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 system to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 channel.
  • A key may specify any number of child channels. For each child channel, subscription is attempted. If the child channel matches the system's base channel, subscription succeeds. If it does not, the subscription fails silently. Refer to Section 6.6, “Channels” for more information.
  • Keys may be modified by any user with the role of Activation Key Administrator or Organization Administrator (or both). These permissions are set through the Users tab of the RHN website. Refer to Section 6.9, “Users — for details.
  • Systems registered by activation keys are tied to the organization account in which the key was created, not the key itself. After registration, a key can be deleted safely without any effect on the systems it was used to register.