Linux - RPM package (RPM: Red Hat Package Manager)


RPM are packages file that you can install on Linux system.

This package format was created by Red Hat and standardized by the LSB.

It's widely adopted, including in openSUSE.

They are .cpio files and you can unpack their contents.

If you don't have them, you can find them via rpmfind

They are managed through a package manager.

RPM is also a tool. The Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) is a toolset used to build and manage software packages on UNIX systems. Distributed with the Red Hat Linux distribution and its derivatives (CentOS).

Package naming scheme

The naming scheme of RPM files is itself a standardized convention. RPMs have the format


For example, the name cat-2.4-7.i386.rpm would mean an RPM :

  • for the utility “cat”
  • version 2.4, build 7
  • for the x86 (When the platform name is replaced by “src”, it's a source RPM)

How to

install them

Via the shell

You install them with a package manager.

With yum

yum install packageName

Gnome gui

On Red Hat / Oracle Entreprise Linux

With the Gnome gui

Linux Package Installation

user scope

unzip them.

RPM packages are .cpio files, and you can unpack their contents with the cpio utility.

rpm2cpio my.rpm | cpio -idv

See if a package is already installed

Use your package manager list function.

For instance, for checking if a package is installed or to find out all packages that match a string is with the rpm tool

rpm -qa | grep -i python 


  • q = query
  • a = all

deinstall a package ?

From the command above, take the package name (without the architecture and rpm extension) and perform the following command

rpm -e package


  • e = erase

Documentation Location

The location of the documentation for installed packages is: /usr/share/doc

For example, the documentation for the redhat-config-date software package is located in /usr/share/doc/redhat-config-date-


List a package or groups of packages

yum list
List the installed files

First find the name of your package

yum list name

Then list the installed content

rpm -ql packageName
# example
rpm -ql sqlite.x86_64

yum info python
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, security
This system is not registered with ULN.
ULN support will be disabled.
Installed Packages
Name       : python
Arch       : x86_64
Version    : 2.4.3
Release    : 56.el5
Size       : 73 k
Repo       : installed
Summary    : An interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language.
URL        :
License    : PSF - see LICENSE
Description: Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming
           : language often compared to Tcl, Perl, Scheme or Java. Python includes
           : modules, classes, exceptions, very high level dynamic data types and
           : dynamic typing. Python supports interfaces to many system calls and
           : libraries, as well as to various windowing systems (X11, Motif, Tk,
           : Mac and MFC).
           : Programmers can write new built-in modules for Python in C or C++.
           : Python can be used as an extension language for applications that need
           : a programmable interface. This package contains most of the standard
           : Python modules, as well as modules for interfacing to the Tix widget
           : set for Tk and RPM.
           : Note that documentation for Python is provided in the python-docs
           : package.

Find / provide

Find what package provides the given file

yum provides *GLIBCXX_3.4.8*
libstdc++-4.1.2-50.el5.i386 : GNU Standard C++ Library
Repo        : ol5_u6_base
Matched from:
Other       :

Build a package

rpmrebuild can be used to:

  • build an rpm file from an installed package (lost rpm)
  • or to quickly make change to a package: just have your change on installed files and call rpmrebuild.
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