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11 Software

The pages in the Main Menu › Software category enable you to view and manage software channels and packages associated with your systems.

11.1 Channels

The Main Menu › Software › Channels page is the first to appear. A software channel provides packages grouped by products or applications to simplify the selection of packages to be installed on a system.

There are two types of software channels: base channels and child channels.

Base Channels

A base channel consists of packages built for a specific architecture and release. For example, all of the packages in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 for the x86_64 architecture make up a base channel. The list of packages in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 for the s390x architecture make up a different base channel.

A system must be subscribed to only one base channel assigned automatically during registration based on the SUSE Linux Enterprise release and system architecture. For paid base channels, an associated subscription must exist.

Child Channels

A child channel is associated with a base channel and provides extra packages. For example, an organization can create a child channel associated with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on x86_64 architecture that contains extra packages for a custom application.

Especially important are the SUSE Manager Tools channels that are available for every base channel. These tools channels provide the tools needed to connect the clients with the SUSE Manager server.

A system can be subscribed to multiple child channels of its base channel. Only packages provided by a subscribed channel can be installed or updated. SUSE Manager Administrators and Channel Administrators have channel management authority. This authority gives them the ability to create and manage their own custom channels.


Do not create child channels containing packages that are not compatible with the client system.

Channels can be further distinguished by relevance: All, SUSE, Channels, My Channels, Shared, and Retired.

11.1.1 All

Under Main Menu › Software › Channels select All. All channels available to your organization are listed.

channels all channels

Links within this list go to different tabs of the Software Channel Details page. Clicking a channel name takes you to the Details tab. Clicking the number of packages takes you to the Packages tab. Clicking the number of systems takes you to the Subscribed Systems tab. Refer to Section 11.1.7, “Channel Details” for details.

Important: Package Count Update Change

During a channel synchronization all package are now downloaded before they are incremented and displayed within the Web UI. When packages have completed the initial download, packages will begin to increment in your channel as they are imported to the database.

11.1.2 SUSE

The SUSE page displays all SUSE channels and any available child channels.

channels vendor channels
Warning: SUSEChannels Cannot be Deleted

When imported, SUSE channels cannot be deleted. Only custom software channels can be deleted.

11.1.4 My Channels

The My Channels page displays all software channels that belong to your organization, including both SUSE and custom channels. Use the text box to filter by channel name.

channels custom channels

11.1.5 Shared

The Shared page displays the channels shared with others in the organizational trust.

channels shared channels

11.1.6 Retired

The Retired page displays available channels that have reached their end-of-life dates and do not receive updates.

channels retired channels

11.1.7 Channel Details

If you click the name of a channel, the Channel Details page appears. Channel Details › Details

General information about the channel and its parent if applicable. This summary, description, and architecture is also displayed when clicking a channel.

channels details channels

In addition, Per-User Subscription Restrictions can be set globally by SUSE Manager administrators and channel administrators. By default, any user can subscribe channels to a system. To manage user permissions, select Only selected users within your organization may subscribe to this channel and click Update. The Subscribers tab appears. Click it to grant specific users subscription permissions to a channel. SUSE Manager administrators and channel administrators can always subscribe any channels to a system.

Only customers with custom base channels can change their systems' base channel assignments via the SUSE Manager Web interface in two ways:

  • Assign the system to a custom base channel.

  • Revert subscriptions from a custom base channel to the appropriate distribution-based base channel.


The assigned base channel must match the installed system. For example, a system running SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 for x86_64 cannot be registered to a SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 for s390x base channel. Use the files /etc/os-release or /etc/SuSE-release to check your product, architecture (try uname -a), version, and patch level. Channel Details › Managers

On the Managers page, you can check which users are authorized to manage the selected channel.

channels details managers channels

Real name and e-mail address are listed with the user names. Organization and Channel administrators can manage any channel. As a SUSE Manager administrator you can change roles for specific users by clicking the name. For more information on user management and the User Details page, see Chapter 16, Users. Channel Details › Patches

The Patches page lists patches to be applied to packages provided in the channel.

channels details patches channels

The list displays advisory types, names, summaries, and issue dates. Clicking an advisory name takes you to its Patch Details page. for more information, see Section 10.2.2, “Patch Details”. Channel Details › Packages

This page lists packages in the channel. Clicking a package name takes you to the Package Details page.

channels details packages channels

This page displays a set of tabs with information about the package, including architectures on which it runs, the package size, build date, package dependencies, change log, list of files in the package, newer versions, and which systems have the package installed. Download the packages as RPMs.

To search for a specific package or a subset of packages, use the package filter at the top of the list. Enter a substring to search for package names containing the string. For example, typing dd in the filter might return: dd_rescue, ddclient, and uuidd. The filter is case-insensitive. Channel Details › Subscribed Systems

The list displays system names and their system type. Clicking a system name takes you to its System Details page. For more information, see Section 7.3, “System Details”. Software Channel Details › Target Systems

List of systems eligible for subscription to the channel. This tab appears only for child channels. Use the check boxes to select the systems, then click the Confirm and Subscribe button on the bottom right-hand corner. You will receive a success message or be notified of any errors. This can also be accomplished through the Channels tab of the System Details page. For more information, see Section 7.3, “System Details”.

11.2 Package Search

channels search channels

The Package Search page allows you to search through packages using various criteria provided by the What to search for selection list:

  • Free Form — a general keyword search useful when the details of a particular package and its contents are unknown.

  • Name Only — Targeted search to find a specific package known by name.

  • Name and Summary — Search for a package or program which might not show up in the respective package name but in its one-line summary.

  • Name and Description — Search package names and their descriptions.

The Free Form field additionally allows you to search using field names that you prepend to search queries and filter results by that field keyword.

For example, if you wanted to search all of the SUSE Linux Enterprise packages for the word java in the description and summary, type the following in the Free Form field:

summary:java and description:java

Other supported field names include:

  • name: search package names for a particular keyword,

  • version: search for a particular package version,

  • filename: search the package file names for a particular keyword,

  • description: search the packages' detailed descriptions for a particular keyword,

  • summary: search the packages' brief summary for a particular keyword,

  • arch: search the packages by their architecture (such as x86_64, ppc64le, or s390).

You can also limit searches to Channels relevant to your systems by clicking the check box. Additionally, you can restrict your search by platform (Specific channel you have access to) or architecture (Packages of a specific architecture).

11.3 Manage Software Channels

This menu allows administrators to create, clone, and delete custom channels. These channels may contain altered versions of distribution-based channels or custom packages.

11.3.1 Manage Software Channels > Overview

The Overview page of the Manage Software Channels menu lists all available channels including custom, distribution-based, and child channels.

To clone an existing channel, click the Clone Channel link. Select the channel to be cloned from the drop-down box, select whether to clone the current state (including patches) or the original state (without patches). You can also select specific patches to use for cloning. Then click the Create Channel button. In the next screen select options for the new channel, including base architecture and GPG, then click Create Channel.

Note: GPG Key URL

The GPG key URL may be either an internal file location such as file:/// or you may use an external URL.

To create a new channel, click the Create Channel link. Select the appropriate options for the new channel, including base architecture and GPG options, then click Create Channel. Note that a channel created in this manner is blank, containing no packages. You must either upload software packages or add packages from other repositories. You may also choose to include patches in your custom channel.

Important: Enable GPG Check

Enable GPG Check is automatically selected when creating a new channel. If you would like to add custom packages and applications to your channel, make sure you deselect this box or you cannot install/add unsigned packages. Keep in mind this is a security risk for packages from an untrusted source.

11.3.2 `Channel Details Channel Details › Details

This page lists the settings made during channel creation. Channel Details › Managers

SUSE Manager administrators and channel administrators may alter or delete any channel. To grant other users rights to alter or delete this channel, check the box next to the user’s name and click Update.

To allow all users to manage the channel, click the Select All button at the bottom of the list then click Update. To remove a user’s right to manage the channel, uncheck the box next to their name and click Update. Channel Details › Patches

Channel managers can list, remove, clone, and add patches to their custom channel. Custom channels not cloned from a distribution may not contain patches until packages are available. Only patches that match the base architecture and apply to a package in that channel may be added. Finally, only cloned or custom patches may be added to custom channels. Patches may be included in a cloned channel if they are selected during channel creation.

The Sync tab lists patches that were updated since they were originally cloned in the selected cloned channel. More specifically, a patch is listed here if and only if:

  • it is a cloned patch,

  • it belongs to the selected cloned channel,

  • it has already been published in the selected cloned channel,

  • it does not contain a package that the original patch has, or it has at least one package with a different version with regard to the corresponding one in the original patch, or both.

  • Clicking the Sync Patches button opens a confirmation page in which a subset of those patches can be selected for synchronization.

  • Clicking the Confirm button in the confirmation page results in such patches being copied over from the original channel to the cloned channel, thus updating corresponding packages. Channel Details › Packages

As with patches, administrators can list, remove, compare, and add packages to a custom channel.

To list all packages in the channel, click the List / Remove Packages link. Check the box to the left of any package you want to remove, then click Remove Packages.

To add packages, click the Add Packages link. From the drop-down box activate a channel from which to add packages and click View to continue. Check the box to the left of any package you want to add to the custom channel, then click Add Packages.

To compare packages in the current channel with those in another, select a channel from the drop-down box and click Compare. Packages in both channels are compared, including architecture and the latest version of packages. The results are displayed on the next screen.

To make the two channels identical, click the Merge Differences button. In the next dialog, resolve any conflicts. Preview Merge allows you to review the changes before applying them to the channels. Select those packages that you want to merge. Click Merge Packages then Confirm to perform the merge. Channel Details › Repositories

On the Repositories page, assign software repositories to the channel and synchronize repository content:

  • Add/Remove lists configured repositories, which can be added and removed by selecting the check box next to the repository name and clicking Update Repositories.

  • Sync lists configured repositories. The synchronization schedule can be set using the drop-down boxes, or an immediate synchronization can be performed by clicking Sync Now.

The Manage Repositories tab to the left shows all assigned repositories. Click a name to see details and possibly delete a repository.

11.3.3 Manage Software Channels > Manage Software Packages

This page allows managing custom software packages, listing all software or viewing only packages in a custom channel. Select the respective channel from the drop-down box and click View Packages.

11.3.4 Manage Software Channels > Manage Repositories

Add or manage custom or third-party package repositories and link the repositories to an existing channel. The repositories feature currently supports repomd repositories.

To create a new repository click the Create Repository link at the top right of the Manage Repositories page. The Create Repository screen prompts you to enter a Repository Label such as sles-12-x86_64 and a Repository URL. You may enter URLs pointing to mirror lists or direct download repositories, then click Create Repository. Select the desired SSL certificate of authority, client certificate and key from the drop down list. SSL keys should be placed in http://EXAMPLE-MANAGER-FQDN.com/pub.

To link the new repository to an existing software channel, select Manage Software Channels from the left menu, then click the channel you want to link. In the channel’s detail page, click the Repositories subtab, then check the box next to the repository you want to link to the channel. Click Update Repositories.

To synchronize packages from a custom repository to your channel, click the Sync link from the channel’s Repositories subtab, and confirm by clicking the Sync button.

You can also perform a synchronization via command line by using the spacewalk-repo-sync command, which additionally allows you to accept keys.

spacewalk-repo-sync creates log files in the /var/log/rhn/reposync directory. SUSE Manager uses one log file per channel and reuses it with the next synchronization run.

11.4 Distribution Channel Mapping

The Distribution Channel Mapping page displays a list of all your defined default base channels that clients will pick up according to their operating system and architecture at registration time. These mappings can be overriden, but cannot be deleted. To create such a mapping click Create Distribution Channel Mapping in the upper-right corner. Several columns provide information for each mapping.

Note: Using Distribution Channel Mapping

For SUSE Linux Enterprise or Red Hat Enterprise Linux SUSE does not use the Distribution Channel Mapping feature. It can be used for other products (for example, for free products such as openSUSE, Fedora, Oracle Linux, etc.). It can help when letting clients pick up base channels automatically.

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