The RPM Package Manager (RPM) is an open packaging system that runs on Red Hat Linux as well as other Linux and Unix systems. Red Hat encourages other vendors to use RPM for their own products, and some (such as Mandrake Linux, which is based on Red Hat Linux) do use RPM. This chapter describes how to install and manage packages using RPM.
If you’re new to Red Hat Linux or you just prefer a graphical interface, you can use the Package Management Tool to manage RPM packages. See Chapter 19 for details.
For the end user, RPM makes system updates easy. Installing, uninstalling, and upgrading RPM packages can be accomplished with short commands. RPM maintains a database of installed packages and their files, so you can invoke powerful queries and verifications on your system.
During upgrades, RPM handles configuration files carefully so that you never lose your customizations — something that you will not accomplish with regular .tar.gz files.
Because RPM makes changes to your system, you must be logged in as root to install, remove, or upgrade an RPM package.