Yeah, you read it right…so stop throwing stones at Linux’ abilty to install/upgrade applications. Why just over this weekend I was cranking away with Yum, Synaptic, and Adept to work on installing Enlightenment onto my iBook. and my desktop. And, I have to tell you – they all rock! But what’s the difference? Let me see if I can “enlighten” you. And, in typical fashion, we’ll do this one system at a time (per blog entry of course). First we’ll take a look at:


Yum (Yellowdog Updater Modified) is an interactive, automated update program wich is used to maintain systems based on rpm. Say what? Yum is a text-based front-end for rpm. But I thought rpm was a text-based…I know, I know, it gets a little cloudy. But it’s very simple to clear away with one little sentence. Yum handles all the package dependencies that rpm tends to create. Ah, I see! Although a tried-and-true means of installing packages, rpm can quickly become a nightmare with dependencies. I’ve spent plenty of days and nights trying to resolve certain dependencies with rpm. But now with Yum, all of that is taken care of. Yum also comes with it’s own means of updating packages (and distributions). As the root user you would simply type:

yum update

and the system would begin checking the database of known installed applications.

Installing with yum is also very simple. Let’s say you want to install Firefox on your desktop. From the command line (as root) you would type:

yum install firefox

and Yum would do it’s thang. And if there were any dependencies to resolve, Yum would take care of them. Of course, being an interactive application, you will have to answer [Y]es or [N]o in order to go on with the install.

Group install

Yum has a very handy tool within it’s pocket called group. With the group switch you can update, install, or remove groups of packages. Let’s say, for example, you set up a text-only server but now you want to be able to use some of the graphical tools to administer the server. Installing that horde of packages with rpm would be a nightmare. So it’s Yum to the rescue.

First you will want to run:

yum grouplist

to find out the names of the listed groups available. From that list you would see both X Software Development and X Window System. You would want to install both of these packages so you’d run:

yum groupinstall “X Software Development” “X Window System”

and the necessary packages would be installed.

Smooth as Chef (before he left South Park that is.)

As you can see Yum is a very handy tool to get to know. Take a read of the Yum man page to learn more of the switches and arguments you can use. And next time we’ll take a look at one of the sexy little graphical installation tools! Yummy!