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Learning Red Hat Linux by Bill McCarty

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Appendix C. The Red Hat Package Manager

This appendix introduces you to the Red Hat Package Manager (RPM), a tool that facilitates installing, uninstalling, and upgrading Linux software. Suppose, for example, that after installing Linux, you discover you need an application that you omitted; you can find the missing application’s package and use RPM to quickly and easily install the application. Similarly, when a new version of an application becomes available, RPM helps you upgrade painlessly, by preserving the application’s configuration files. RPM also lets you query the status of your systems, helping you determine whether important files have been deleted.

Packages

An RPM package (or more simply, an RPM or a package) is a file that contains files necessary to install an application or software unit. RPM packages are generally named using a convention that lets you determine the name of the package, the version of the software, the release number of the software, and the system architecture for which the application is intended. Figure 3.1 shows how the components of a package name are arranged.

The structure of a package name

Figure C-1. The structure of a package name

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