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NorthernJourney.com: Linux for Newbies: Installing and Updating Packages with RPM

Nov 19, 2000, 12:55 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gene Wilburn)

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"One of the milestone events in the history of Linux was the development of the Red Hat Package Manager, or RPM. In the early days of Linux there was no widely-used package manager--most packages were installed and updated by hand via tar files. Dependencies were something you worked out for yourself, and it was up to you to manage your config files. You often compiled every program from source code--not a bad thing in itself, but time-consuming and usually unnecessary. The need for a package manager for pre-compiled binaries was apparent and early attempts to come up with a solution included PM and RPP--predecessors to RPM...."

"The impact and importance of package managers is so fundamental that Linux distributions divide along package-manager lines. Slackware, which uses the old, relatively crude TGZ packaging, is the sole remaining distribution of the old school. Most of today's distros are RPM-based: Red Hat, Caldera, Mandrake, SuSE and Turbo. The only other package manager that has had major impact is the thoroughly excellent Debian DEB system, which lies at the heart of Debian GNU/Linux, Storm Linux and Corel Linux--all Debian-based systems...."

"Because RPM is so popular and widely used, there are a number of graphical RPM tools and supplementary utilities that can be used with KDE and GNOME desktops. I would suggest, however, that you avoid using these and learn to use RPM directly from the command line. RPM commands are easy and you get better and more direct feedback by typing the commands."

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