How changing '<' to '>=' introduced a weird and hard to track bug

> posts > 2022 > Mar


After upgrading to Uyuni 2022.2 I wasn't able to sync openSUSE Leap 15.3 and Oracle Linux 8 repositories anymore, the configured HTTP Proxy was ignored. Multiple people reported similar issues: #4932 (Archive: [1], [2]), #4850 (Archive: [1], [2]), #4826 (Archive: [1], [2]).

During multiple troubleshooting sessions I learned a lot about the Python Codebase and the reposync tool.

It took my quite a while to track down the Issue to the urlgrabber package.

What happened? Method find_proxy in urlgrabber.grabber.URLGrabberOptions will identify the proxy server that should be used based on the provided URL Scheme.

Let's assume server.satellite.http_proxy in /etc/rhn/rhn.conf is set to

>>> from urlgrabber.grabber import URLGrabberOptions
>>> opts = URLGrabberOptions(proxy=None, proxies={'http': '', 'https': '', 'ftp': ''})
>>> opts.find_proxy(b'', b'http')

That's the simplified version of the relevant Code, a Instance of URLGrabberOptions contains a list of proxies, one per URL Scheme, the method find_proxy is used to choose the right proxy from opts.proxies based on two parameter, url and scheme, both are passed as type bytes.

The expected result, opts.proxy contains the value from type str, actual result, None.

The package urlgrabber is quite old and not that actively maintained. Python 3 support was added in Version 4, the last release is from October 2019.

It looks like that the above issues, that proxy is None, comes from an inconsistent bytes / string conversion. If you pass the scheme as string instead bytes, you get the expected result:

>>> from urlgrabber.grabber import URLGrabberOptions
>>> opts = URLGrabberOptions(proxy=None, proxies={'http': '', 'https': '', 'ftp': ''})
>>> opts.find_proxy(b'', 'http')
>>> opts.proxy

To get the Sync of openSUSE Leap 15.3 and Oracle Linux 8 Repositories working again through a http proxy, a small change was already sufficient:

diff --git a/backend/satellite_tools/ b/backend/satellite_tools/
index 3d064e5c6ce..3b7a02d5176 100644
--- a/backend/satellite_tools/
+++ b/backend/satellite_tools/
@@ -114,7 +114,7 @@ def __init__(self, url, filename, opts, curl_cache, parent):
         self.parent = parent
         (url, parts) = opts.urlparser.parse(url, opts)
         (scheme, host, path, parm, query, frag) = parts
-        opts.find_proxy(url, scheme)
+        opts.find_proxy(url, scheme.decode("utf-8"))
         super().__init__(url, filename, opts)

     def _do_open(self):

Pull Request #4953 (Archive: [1], [2]) was accepted and merged, unfortunately a few user still reported issues, especially related to CentOS 7 this time.

After a quick check, I had the impression that syncing EL8 based Distributions like Oracle Linux 8 share the same Code as EL7 based Distributions like CentOS 7. More or less right, but due to things like mirrorlist, there are some additional steps and further calls of urlgrabber split across the reposync code.

I had to find another way to fix it without touching multiple files and methods. So I gave some hacky Monkey Patching a try. First I reverted the previous workaround:

diff --git a/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/ b/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/
index 3b7a02d5176..3d064e5c6ce 100644
--- a/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/
+++ b/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/
@@ -114,7 +114,7 @@ def __init__(self, url, filename, opts, curl_cache, parent):
         self.parent = parent
         (url, parts) = opts.urlparser.parse(url, opts)
         (scheme, host, path, parm, query, frag) = parts
-        opts.find_proxy(url, scheme.decode("utf-8"))
+        opts.find_proxy(url, scheme)
         super().__init__(url, filename, opts)

     def _do_open(self):

Then I created a new find_proxy method, which just triggers the original one but performs the bytes to string conversion. The magic happens in the two lines after the method, urlgrabber_find_proxy becomes the method from urlgrabber and my own version replaces the original one. That way it doesn't matter where in anything related to urlgrabber will be triggered, scheme will always be converted to a string a the proxy set as configured and expected.

diff --git a/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/repo_plugins/ b/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/repo_plugins/
index 85013cfb36a..39f36be61e5 100644
--- a/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/repo_plugins/
+++ b/python/spacewalk/satellite_tools/repo_plugins/
@@ -80,6 +80,17 @@
 APACHE_USER = 'wwwrun'

+# Monkey Patch 'urlgrabber.grabber' method 'find_proxy' to enforce type string for variable 'scheme'
+# Workaround due to wrong byte/string handling in 'urlgrabber' package
+# Required by reposync to connect through http_proxy as configured
+def find_proxy(self, url, scheme):
+    urlgrabber_find_proxy(self, url, scheme.decode('utf-8'))
+urlgrabber_find_proxy = urlgrabber.grabber.URLGrabberOptions.find_proxy
+urlgrabber.grabber.URLGrabberOptions.find_proxy = find_proxy
 class ZyppoSync:
     This class prepares a environment for running Zypper inside a dedicated reposync root

There is a Issue (Archive: [1], [2]) in the urlgrabber repository, until that's fixed, it looks like that a workaround in the Uyuni / reposync Codebase will be required.

I created a new Pull Request (Archive: [1], [2]) in the Uyuni Project based on the above described fix, let's see if anyone comes up with a more elegant solution or if the guys are happy with that one and agree to merge it.

Based on my tests, by syncing openSUSE Leap 15.3, Oracle Linux 8, CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 20.04 repositories, it should finally resolve all, so far known, Issues related to reposync and HTTP Proxy.

And what had all this to do with a change of '<' to '>='?

In PR #4604 (Archive: [1], [2]) the version was bumped, changing python3-urlgrabber < 4 to python3-urlgrabber >= 4 caused all that trouble and lot of issues where syncing repositories behind a http proxy was just not possible anymore.

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