Saturday, September 15, 2007

Upgrading PEAR on Red Hat Enterprise ES 3

Recently we've upgraded our coding standards for our server-side PHP development to include unit tests, which required that we install PHPUnit for PHP 4. Normally installing a new pear module takes about ten seconds, like this:

pear install PHPUnit

Unfortunately, this time things didn't go so smoothly. I ended up with dozens of errors such as this one:

Warning: xml_parse() []: Unable to call handler _pkginfo_cdata_2_0() in Common.php on line 758

The list of errors ended with:

Notice: Undefined index: package in Common.php on line 1122
The following errors where found (use force option to install anyway):
missing package name
missing summary
missing description
missing license
missing version
missing release state
missing release date
missing release notes
no maintainer(s)
no files

If you look up these errors on Google, you get very few hits. Justin Patrin correctly identifies the problem: Red Hat ES 3 ships with version 1.1. This version of pear is considered ancient and doesn't support reading the latest packages.

You can check your version of pear with this command:

pear -V

Justin recommends the standard command for upgrading pear:

pear upgrade pear

Unfortunately, this command doesn't work when your current version of pear is so far out of date. In fact, the net result of this command is that the "pear" command is removed and not replaced. If you follow the link, you'll see a bug about this in the pear bug database, where the problem is considered "Bogus" (not a bug) because the author of the bug is running a "museum PEAR version (RHE3, pear 1.1)." Unfortunately, there is no discussion of how to actually perform the upgrade, since the command "pear upgrade pear" is completely broken in RHE3. I find it absurd that anyone who supports enterprise software would think that it's okay to simply orphan customers who are running software four years old.

I found several articles on resolving problems with old versions of pear. All of them recommended reinstalling pear from scratch, similar to this:

lynx -source php

Unfortunately, this didn't work for me. The Red Hat Package Manager (rpm) has very definite ideas as to where pear should be installed. However, rpm bundles pear with php, so you cannot simply uninstall Red Hat's pear and then install the standard version. In my case, I was unable to determine how to get go-pear to align its directory structure with rpm, and I ended up with a schizophrenic installation.

I removed all of /usr/share/pear and restored the directory from backup. I then double checked the installed packages:

pear list

Pear reported that no packages were installed. Since the Red Hat version of pear actually ships with several packages, it was clear that my installation was now completely broken.

After several hours of searching, I finally found on article by Patrick Berry titled Upgrading PEAR on RHEL 4. Although I was running RHEL 3 and not 4, the solution described gave me enough information to solve the problem.

The problem is that version 1.1 of pear cannot read the package to install the latest version, which is 1.67 as of this blog entry. Therefore, you have to go through some intermediate upgrades before eventually arriving at version 1.67.

I first tried following the steps under Patrick's Solution section. It didn't work for me - I received the error pear is not installed. This error appears to have been caused by my earlier attempt to install from go-pear. After much frustration, I solved this problem by removing the file /root/.pearrc.

However, Patrick's steps under Solution still didn't work for me. If I had bothered to read the Update AND the Comments, I would have seen the latest correct upgrade procedure, as described by Daniel a mere ten days ago:

pear upgrade pear-1.3.3
pear upgrade pear-1.4.11
pear upgrade

However, AGAIN this procedure didn't work for me. (Are you sensing a trend here?) When I tried to go from 1.3.3 to 1.4.11, I received an error about "getopt2 not found." It's not clear what caused this problem, but I saw a similar issue reported by others, again with no solution.

To resolve this problem, I had to manually download an interim version of Console_Getopt and copy it to /usr/share/pear/Console. The latest version was too new and version 1.21 was too old. One of the versions in the middle included getopt2 and didn't rely on any other unsupported functionality.

Once I put in place a newer version of Console_Getopt, I was able to upgrade to pear 1.4.11, and then to the latest version, with these commands:

pear upgrade pear-1.4.11
pear upgrade-all

The upgrade-all command also fixes the pear package manager so it shows the correct version of Console_Getopt.

After all of this effort, my installation of pear finally worked again, after wasting a mere two days figuring out all of the problems. (Begin Sarcasm) A big thank you to both Red Hat and the "pear" package manager maintainers for abandoning users of Red Hat Enterprise 3.(End Sarcasm)

Late-Breaking Information:
I just learned that the PEAR home page says that support for PEAR 1.3.6 and earlier will be dropped on January 1, 2008. Since today is still four months before that date, it seems that they've jumped the gun a little bit. However, they do give the definitive steps on how to upgrade your PEAR installation:

pear upgrade --force PEAR-1.3.6 Archive_Tar-1.3.1 Console_Getopt-1.2
pear upgrade --force PEAR-1.4.11
pear upgrade PEAR

However, it's impossible to find this from any search engine because they don't list the symptoms or the affected operating systems, nor do they refer to this procedure in Bug #5906 that I mentioned earlier.

Even More Late-Breaking Information:
Turns out that my pear installation still had issues because of all of the experimentation, so I had to wipe it and start over. This time I was able to get go-pear to work by following the instructions on this web page:

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