Practice: RPM and YUM package management

Exercises for setting up your Linux system and software

A package is software that is bundled and ready for installation on a Linux system, and installing and removing packages are basic operations for any Linux user or administrator. This article offers hands-on practice with the Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) and YUM software management tools that will help you learn to perform these tasks in a real-world environment. The exercises and solutions in this article focus on a variety of package management tasks.


Tracy Bost, Consultant and Trainer, Freelance

Author photo - Tracy BostTracy Bost is a seasoned software developer and systems engineer. He is also a lecturer and trainer for the Linux operating system. Tracy has been certified as both a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), along with being an active member of the Linux Foundation. He has worked in several industries, including mortgage, real estate, and the nonprofit sector.

21 June 2011

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About this article

These exercises and solutions supplement the developerWorks article "Learn Linux, 101: RPM and YUM package management," which is part of the developerWorks knowledge path "Basics of Linux system administration: Setting up your system and software." You may want to read the "RPM and YUM package management" article before working through these exercises.


These exercises give you practice performing:

  • Package management with the RPM Package Manager (RPM)
  • Software management with Yellowdog Updated Modified (YUM)


Develop skills on this topic

This content is part of a progressive knowledge path for advancing your skills. See Basics of Linux system administration: Setting up your system and software

To get the most from exercises in this series, you should have a basic knowledge of Linux and a working RPM-based Linux system on which you can practice the exercises covered in this article.

Exercise 1. Install an RPM package

rpl is a widely available GNU-licensed utility that replaces strings in text. Obtain a copy of the latest stable rpl package (as of this writing, rpl 1.5). For example, a Fedora 15 version will appear as rpl-1.5.5-4.fc15.noarch.rpm. This naming convention indicates that the RPM is rpl version 1.5.5-4, compiled for Fedora 15, with a generic build that should suffice for any architecture.

Because you will not work directly with the commands of rpl, any valid RPM package will be sufficient to complete this exercise.

Although more advanced software management tools such as YUM have gained wide acceptance, the rpm command still has its place in many systems administrator scenarios. Likewise, many third-party commercial Linux-based applications can be downloaded as RPM files.

Assume that you are working for an organization that just acquired another company. You have been tasked with changing thousands of lines among multiple Extensible Markup Language (XML) files from the previous company's name to the new name. The rpl command can do just that:

  • Find and download the latest stable RPM package for rpl.

This exercise doesn't focus on YUM, but as an alternative to downloading the rpl rpm file from a reputable mirror site, you could use the yumdownloader command if rpl is available in one of your computer's enabled YUM repositories. The command yumdownloader rpl will download the file.

Once the RPM file is downloaded:

  • Use the rpm command to install the package with flags for verbose output and hashes (#) to show progress.

The rpm --help command will assist you with the correct syntax for these flags.

Exercise 2. Use RPM to query for information

Use the rpm command to:

  • Verify that the package is installed on your computer
  • Find all files associated with the package
  • Determine which package owns the /bin/ls file

Exercise 3. Use RPM to remove a package

You have completed the task to replace the company name in thousands of places among multiple files in record time using the rpl tool. However, you don't anticipate using rpl in the near future, so you decide to uninstall the program to save disk space (actually, rpl is a tiny program) and minimize the number of installed software programs on your computer.

  • Use the rpm command to remove the rpl program from your Linux computer.

Exercise 4. Use YUM to find information about software

This exercise covers the use of YUM to automatically discover and install dependencies, find information about available software from enabled YUM repositories on your computer, and install and remove software.

Perhaps you are performing a job requiring a lot of command-line processing with arguments and would like to set a few aliases. The tcsh (pronounced tee-see-shell) can do exactly that. Tcsh is a widely available shell that most likely is not installed on your computer but is available from your YUM repository.

  • Use the yum command to perform these tasks:
    • Determine whether tcsh is available within an enabled YUM repository on your computer
    • Find information about tcsh
    • Determine the dependencies, if any, that tcsh will require

Exercise 5. Use YUM to install software

Now you are ready to install the new software.

  • Use the yum command to perform these tasks:
    • Install tcsh
    • Verify that tcsh is installed on your computer

Exercise 6. Use YUM to remove software

As in exercise 3, remove the software to manage disk space and prevent the need for any future updates to tcsh:

  • Use the yum command to remove tcsh.

Exercise solutions

Follow these solution steps to check your work.



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