RPM Overview

RPM automates the installation and maintenance of software packages. Built into each package are program files, configuration files, documentation, and dependencies on other packages. Package files are manipulated using the rpm command, which maintains a database of all installed packages and their files. Information from new packages is added to this database, and the database is consulted on a file-by-file basis for dependencies when packages are removed, queried, and installed. As with Debian packages, RPM packages have four common elements:


An RPM package name is short and descriptive. If multiple words are used, they are separated by hyphens (not underscores, as you might expect). Typical names include binutils, caching-nameserver, cvs, gmc, kernel-source, and telnet.


Each package has a version. Most package versions are the same as that of the software they contain. The format of package versions varies from package to package, but most are numeric (major.minor.patchlevel).


The revision tag is simply a release number for the package. It has no significance except to determine whether one package is newer than another when the version number does not change.


Packages containing binary (compiled) files are by their nature specific to a particular type of system. For PCs, the RPM architecture designation is i386, meaning the Intel 80386 and subsequent line of microprocessors and compatibles.

Packages optimized for later x86 CPUs will have ...

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