RPM usage for newbies
RPM stands for Red Hat Packet Manger. The traditional way to install a
package was to take an archive and then just extract the files off it into
the required directories. This worked fine but then the administrator
faced a problem when it came to updating the packages. He must locate the
files from the previous install and then make sure they are removed from
the system. RPM helps here. It is a easier and more flexible way of
installation and maintainence of packages. Upgrades are easy. RPM
maintains a database of the packages installed on your system as well as
the locations of the files and the version numbers. Anytime you install a
package in rpm format, RPM will check to see whether there are any files
are in conflict between the packages installed and the packages being
installed. It will also tell you whether any other packages need to be
installed for the software to work. All in all RPM makes life a lot
RPM has become really popular and several distributions are now based on
it. Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Caldera -- all use the rpm format to maintain
the system software.
Installation of an RPM
RPM installation, updation and removal will have to be done as root.
Querying the database does not require you to be root.
A basic installation of an RPM file can be accomplished by
e.g - rpm -ivh foo-1.03.rpm
At this point rpm will go out and check whether the files required by foo
are installed on the system or not. If some other package needs to be
installed then it will inform you of the requirements and exit. If some
files from the package have been installed by some other package then you
will be notified of that also.
Multiple files can also be specified using wildcards so the following is
rpm -ivh foo*.rpm
Let's look at the options specified.
-i = Specifies installation as the action to be taken.
-v = Will display additional information while installing.
-h = Prints 50 hash marks (#) as installation progresses.
You can get by with just -i but it is generally a good idea to specify -v
and -h too so that you get proper feedback.
Other options that may be given are
--replacepkgs = Sometimes you may need to re-install a package that has
been damaged then you need to specify this option. If you try a
installation then rpm will say that the package is already installed.