Using RPMs to Install Linux Software

Using RPM

You can install and manage packages by using the [rpm] command. The syntax will always be the same

rpm -options package-name.rpm

Listed below are com common options that are used with RPM.

-qa Lists all packages currently installed on the system.

-qi Lists header information in the package, including descriptions and creation dates.

-ql Lists files installed by the package.

-i Installs the listed package

-ivh Installs the package, including verbose output and progress hash marks. This is the most common set of switches used to install a program.

-e Uninstall a package.

An interesting feature of RPM is it’s ability to natively install directly over FTP or HTTP. If you specify the RPM as an web url, such as then the file will be installed without having to download it. You can find many web based RPM’s are

There are several graphical RPM managers available for XWindows. Perhaps the most common is the Gnome RPM manager.

Gnome RPM allows you to perform all the tasks you can complete from the command prompt. It’s only downfall is that it organized RPM’s into categories, which can make locating the RPM of choice a little more difficult. Gnome RPM has several powerful features, which can be accessed from the Operations menu. One of those features allows you to specify a web location for searching for and installing RPM’s. If you were to specify, you could use Gnome RPM to browse available RPM’s on the site and select those you want to install. The packages would be installed directly from the site.

Installing Samba using RPM

I have Samba 2.0 burned to a CD. The RPM was downloaded from After I launch Gnome RPM (seen above), I can click the install button.

Then click add and browse to the location of the RPM you wish to install.

Once the package has been selected, you can view information, and verify the MD5 signature on the package to verify it has not been tampered with. Do this by clicking on the Query and Verify Sig buttons.

Click the install button and your RPM will display a progress bar as it installs.

Finally, you can start the newly installed service from a command prompt. Remember, that if you want to set the service to start automatically, configure it using the [ntsysv] utility.