Using RPMs

Using RPMs

I was thrilled when Internet Explorer added the “Open” option at the end of file downloads. It meant
only a couple less steps in the download and install process, but a couple fewer steps for each
download over the course of a month or year is a lot of steps and time saved.

Linux offers a way to save download and install steps, as well. Though still not quite as short as
choosing the “Open” option in IE, RPM files represent a significant time savings over the .tar.gz
process we talked about last week.

“RPM” stands for RedHat Package Manager. And while RedHat perfected the process, the most commonly-used
Linux distributions now utilize an RPM-style system. Installing an RPM file is as simple as executing
the RPM command, with some options, on a file.

    rpm -i somefile.rpm

Executing this command from within the directory containing the RPM file will install the file and any
necessary libraries, and add the path to the program to the environment variable. That last means
that you should only have to enter the name of the program (rather than the full path to the program)
for the system to know where to find it.

Useful options for RPM include:

    U     Update an existing package
    i      install the package whose name follows
    v     install in verbose mode, showing the
    e     uninstall the package whose name follows

Not sure what packages are installed on your system? Both KDE and Gnome Desktop Environments offer
graphical package managers.