Department of Computer Science and Technology

Software installation using yum

There are several tools available to install RPMs, the main one being the command line interface yum (which stands for Yellowdog Updater Modified). To install an extra RPM which is in one of the known repositories, use cl-asuser to run the yum command.

Run the command cl-asuser yum install packagename where packagename is the name of a package. (On a 64 bit machine it may install the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of packagename if both are available. To avoid this, use cl-asuser yum install packagename.x86_64 instead.)

How do I know the name of the package ? If using yum, then you can usually just guess - for example, the xfig utility is provided by the xfig package. There are some less obvious common examples (see Non-obvious package names. Or there are some useful yum commands (all of which will take regular expressions as arguments):
  • yum list packagename: list RPMs which match packagename
  • yum provides filename: list RPMs which provide filename (or feature)
  • yum search string: list RPMs which mention string in their info

For example, to install the utility xv run the command "cl-asuser yum install xv", which results in:

Loading "fastestmirror" plugin
Loading "installonlyn" plugin
Setting up Install Process
Setting up repositories
CL-redhat                 100% |=========================|  951 B    00:00
livna                     100% |=========================| 1.1 kB    00:00
[Errno 12] Timeout: urlopen error timed out
Trying other mirror.
core                      100% |=========================| 1.1 kB    00:00
CL                        100% |=========================|  951 B    00:00
updates                   100% |=========================| 1.2 kB    00:00
freshrpms                 100% |=========================| 1.1 kB    00:00
CL-fedora                 100% |=========================|  951 B    00:00
extras                    100% |=========================| 1.1 kB    00:00
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
Reading repository metadata in from local files
[Errno 14] HTTP Error 502: Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2007 14:23:41 GMT
Content-Length: 610
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

Trying other mirror.
primary.xml.gz            100% |=========================|  66 kB    00:00
[Errno -1] Metadata file does not match checksum
Trying other mirror.
primary.xml.gz            100% |=========================|  64 kB    00:00
freshrpms : ################################################## 176/176
Parsing package install arguments
Resolving Dependencies
--> Populating transaction set with selected packages. Please wait.
---> Downloading header for xv to pack into transaction set.
xv-3.10a-27.i386.rpm      100% |=========================|  39 kB    00:00
---> Package xv.i586 0:3.10a-27 set to be updated
--> Running transaction check

Dependencies Resolved

 Package                 Arch       Version          Repository        Size
 xv                      i586       3.10a-27         CL-redhat         1.6 M

Transaction Summary
Install      1 Package(s)
Update       0 Package(s)
Remove       0 Package(s)

Total download size: 1.6 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
(1/1): xv-3.10a-27.i386.r 100% |=========================| 1.6 MB    00:00
Running Transaction Test
Finished Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing: xv                           ######################### [1/1]

Installed: xv.i586 0:3.10a-27

There are several things to observe in this example. The first is that there are several timeouts and other problems along the way — this is not unusual and does not indicate that the installation failed. The second is that you are asked for confirmation after the RPM is located, but before it is installed (the Is this ok [y/N]: line). If you want it to just do it without asking, use the -y option to force a "yes" answer to all questions (i.e. "cl-asuser yum -y install xv").

It is highly recommended that any such additions are added to /etc/user-config/bundles (see below) with a suitable comment, so that your set of packages will be automaticly reloaded if a system re-install is needed.

You can also use yum remove to remove a package, e.g. "cl-asuser yum remove xv" would uninstall xv. Note that it ALSO removes anything which depends on that package, but NOT everything on which it depends. So you have to be careful when removing things as deleting "one" package can cascade and remove hundreds! yum install foo; yum remove foo does not leave the system in the same state it was before, as things on which foo depends will have been loaded on install, but NOT deleted on remove.

The mplayer problem:
It was stated before that it was sometimes necessary to specify that all of the packages a package requires come from the same repository. This can be done with the yum --disablerepo option. To remove the broke packages that prevent the mplayer utility from working and to install a working set, try:

cl-asuser yum -y remove faad2
cl-asuser yum -y remove libdvdnav
cl-asuser yum --disablerepo=freshrpms -y install faad2
cl-asuser yum --disablerepo=freshrpms -y install libdvdnav
cl-asuser yum --disablerepo=freshrpms -y install mplayer

Software installation using apt-get

The main operations install and remove are the same as for yum. However, note that whereas "yum update" updates the RPM packages, "apt-get update" updates the meta data, and "apt-get upgrade" is used to actually upgrade the packages.