The biggest issue is that ArcGIS installers will only run when logged in root. Yeah, not running a bash as root, or sudo'ing as root, or su'ing to root ... you actually have to log in as root.
Herein lies the difficulty: the rest of the installer assumes a GUI (e.g., gnome or kde). You can't login to gnome or kde as root.
If you're doing best practice X tunneling with SSH, then you're using private/public keys. So make sure that you create a .ssh profile with keys and copy over the authorized_keys directory from your normal user. I think this is where my immediate stumbling block was: when I first did this I wasn't thinking as much about security, just seeing if it would work. I didn't use keys. When I rebuilt the system, I did ... and of course I disabled plaintext passwords. I didn't even consider that I'd want to login as root through X/SSH, but I'd guarantee that's how I did it the first time. This was also an issue with X, specifically, because X settings (e.g., $DISPLAY) would only be set for the logged in connection (my normal login) and not root, if not connected directly with root.
[root@host]# cd .ssh/authorized_keys .
Finally, of course, everything ArcGIS runs through Wine on Linux (the Windows compatibility layer). It turned out there was a profile directory that was owned by another use
# chown -R root /root/arcgis/server/framework/runtime/.wine
Also two other things I found out during this process:
- set is a great command for debugging. I put set -x at the top of authorizeSoftware and this gave me all kinds of great diagnostic info, including THE LOCATION OF THE LOGS!!
- the software authorization log was located under: /root/arcgis/server/.Setup/softwareauthorization.log
Thanks, Dean Nairn!