August 30, 2014
 
 
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Linux Package Management: Keeping Up with the Times - page 2

Introduction to Package Types

  • April 22, 2002
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

RPM is the Swiss army knife of the package manager world, in that you use a single command to do a wide variety of things. Well, that's not entirely true: you use a single command, with a whole pile of possible option flags.

At the base of working with RPM files is the rpm command. Some common variations you'll see of using this one include:

Command ExampleDescription
rpm -qa | more
List all installed RPM packages, and of course display them only one screen at a time, there's a lot of them on an RPM-based system!
rpm -ql perl
List all of the files added to the filesystem when I installed the Perl package, and where they were placed.
rpm -qlp perl-5.6.1.i386.rpm
List all of the files and where they will be added to the filesystem if I install the Perl package specified.
rpm -qi perl
Display information about the Perl package I installed.
rpm -qip  perl-5.6.1.i386.rpm
Display information about the Perl package I'm thinking about installing.
rpm -ivh  perl-5.6.1.i386.rpm
Install this Perl package, give verbose output, and display hashes to show me progress.
rpm -Uvh  perl-5.6.1.i386.rpm
Install this Perl package, or if it's already installed but a previous version, update my Perl installation with the new version. Also, give verbose output, and display hashes to show me progress.
rpm -Fvh  perl-5.6.1.i386.rpm
Install this Perl package even if I'm getting errors about conflicts or versions. Also, give verbose output, and display hashes to show me progress.
rpm -e perl
Uninstall the Perl package.

In the old days, it was smart to only install or update one package at a time, since if RPM ran into conflicts trying to install a long list in order, the entire installation or update would fail--this is what caught me up in the KDE installation. Nowadays, the rpm command is a much smarter tool and can figure out the proper order if all of the necessary packages are listed. Even better, if you want to install every RPM in the current directory, just use:

rpm -Uvh *

Popular distributions that utilize RPM are Red Hat, Mandrake, and SuSE. I'm sure I've left someone's favorite out, my apologies in advance. Each of these distributions has at least one tool available that helps you to grab all of the latest security patches, bug fixes, and more for what you've got installed on your system.

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