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RPM (Red Hat Package Manager)

Posted: June 6, 2023 | by Michael Bright

RPM, short for Red Hat Package Manager, is a package management system used primarily in Linux distributions based on the Red Hat ecosystem, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, Fedora, and others. It is a tool for packaging, installing, updating, and managing software packages in these distributions.

The RPM package format is a standardized way of bundling software, including executables, libraries, configuration files, and other resources, into a single archive file. Each RPM package contains metadata about the package, such as its name, version, dependencies, and installation scripts.

Here are some key aspects of RPM and its usage:

  1. Package Creation: RPM allows software developers and system administrators to create packages for their software. Package creators define the contents of the package, including files, directories, and permissions, and specify dependencies on other packages.
  2. Package Management: RPM provides tools for managing packages on a Linux system. These tools include rpm command-line utility and graphical package management tools like dnf and yum (both of which use RPM under the hood). These tools allow users to install, update, query, and remove packages from the system.
  3. Dependency Management: RPM handles dependencies between packages. When installing a package, RPM checks if all required dependencies are present and automatically resolves and installs them if necessary. This ensures that all required libraries and dependencies are satisfied.
  4. Verification and Integrity: RPM provides features for verifying the integrity of installed packages. It can verify the integrity of package files against checksums stored in the package metadata, ensuring that the package files have not been tampered with or corrupted.
  5. Scripting Support: RPM supports scripting hooks during package installation and removal. These scripts can perform actions before and after package installation, allowing custom configuration or setup tasks to be performed during the package’s lifecycle.
  6. Package Querying: RPM allows users to query the system for installed packages, their versions, dependencies, and other package information. This helps administrators and users to easily find and manage packages on their systems.

RPM packages typically have file extensions ending in .rpm. When a package is installed, its files are extracted to appropriate locations in the file system, and the package’s metadata is stored in a database on the system.

While RPM is closely associated with Red Hat-based distributions, it is also used by other Linux distributions, such as SUSE Linux Enterprise, OpenSUSE, and Mageia, among others. RPM packages provide a convenient and standardized way to distribute and manage software packages, ensuring consistent installation and management across Linux systems.

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