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up2date, rhn, proxy servers and the user agent string



I ran into a situation using RHEL WS 3.0 where the up2date & rhnlib code
weren't going through my organization's proxy server. It turned out
that there were two reasons for this: First, when rhnlib tried
to CONNECT to the https proxy, it did not include the User-Agent:
header (it's just the CONNECT http message that is missing this
header). Second, I needed to change the user agent header used
by rhnlib to an older string that was recognized by the proxy server.

I made the required changes in the rhnlib, up2date and rhn-applet packages
and have patches (and SRPMS for that matter) which

 (a) Fix the https proxy bug
 (b) Allow end-user configuration of the User-Agent header
 (c) Respect a userAgent setting in /etc/sysconfig/rhn/up2date
 (d) Add a --userAgent command line option to up2date
 (e) Modify rhn-applet to use the userAgent setting and
     read the value out of ~/.rhn-applet.conf

These currently only are known to work (for me) with RHEL 3.0 and
the RHN back end, but it would probably not be difficult to make
them work for other situations.

I expect to forward these to Red Hat through our support contract,
but I don't know if they'd accept them or how long it would be
before they'd be available through there. There's at least one
string that would have to be internationalized before it could be
released to production. Anyway if anyone else would find these
patches useful, please let me know, or if there is sufficient interest,
I'll post them on this (or another if more appropriate) list.

--Bob Drzyzgula



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