Chapter 12. Using Gnome-RPM and RPM

The benefits of RPM

RPM stands for RPM Package Manager. At its heart, RPM is one of the most convenient technologies available for Red Hat Linux. That convenience extends beyond the user; Red Hat encourages other vendors to consider the ease of use behind the RPM system for their own products (the system may be distributed under terms of the GPL).

Want to install or remove an application? No problem. Upgrade an application you already have? It's easy. By typing a few simple commands or pressing a few buttons, the process will be taken care of for you.

RPM also features useful tools to view the contents of a package, as well as other essential file and system maintenance features.

From its earliest days, RPM was intended to be an easy and secure way to get packages on and off a user's system. Often, the only requirement to installing an RPM package -- sometimes referred to as a pre-compiled binary if it's an application -- is that you're root and that you press the right buttons!

You can choose to work with RPM packages from either a graphical front-end or the shell prompt. Gnome-RPM, which was introduced in Red Hat Linux 6.0, is a graphical RPM tool. An alternative to Gnome-RPM are various RPM commands you can issue from the shell prompt in an Xterm window.

This chapter will cover some of the basic features of RPM use from Gnome-RPM and from the shell prompt. For more in-depth information, about both Gnome-RPM and RPM technology, refer to the related chapters in the Official Red Hat Linux Reference Guide on the Documentation CD, or online at

NoteYou must be root

Because RPM makes changes to your system, for most functions you must be root in order to use RPM from either the shell prompt or through Gnome-RPM.

Changing to Root

Changing to root can be easily accomplished from within your user account.

You can temporarily switch from your user account to root by using the su command. Once you're root, you can install, delete and work with packages and perform maintenance on system files.

Remember, however, that when you're root you can inadvertently damage your system, so use caution!

Just type su at the shell prompt. You'll see something like this:
[you@localhost you]$su
Password: yourrootpassword
[root@localhost you]#

Now that you're root, you can start Gnome-RPM or perform your RPM command from the shell prompt.