Tutorials/Tips

Yum in Redhat Enterprise Linux 6.1

Editor: This post is by James Antill. It looks at yum, the command line tool for managing applications on certain RPM-based Linux distributions like Redhat Enterprise Linux and Fedora.

Time to look at a few features of yum in RHEL-6.1 now that it’s released:

Search is more user-friendly – As we maintain yum we are always looking for the “minor” changes that can make a big difference to the user, and this is probably one of the biggest minor changes. As of late RHEL-5 and RHEL-6.0 “yum search” was great for finding obscure things that you knew something about but with 6.1 we’ve hopefully made it useful for finding the “everyday” packages you can’t remember the exact name of. We did this by excluding a lot of the “extra” hits, when you get a large search result. For instance “yum search kvm manager” is pretty useless in RHEL-6.0, but in RHEL-6.1 you should find what you want very quickly.

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Example commands:

yum search kvm manager
yum search python url

The updateinfo command – The “yum-security” or “yum-plugin-security” package has been around since early RHEL-5, but the RHEL-6.1 update has introduced the “updateinfo” command to make things a little easier to use, and you can now easily view installed security errata (to more easily make sure you are secure). We’ve also added a few new pieces of data to the RHEL updateinfo data. Probably the most significant is that as well as errata being marked “security” or not they are now tagged with their “severity”. So you can automatically apply only “critical” security updates, for example.

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Example commands:

yum updateinfo list security all
yum update-minimal --sec-severity=critical

The versionlock command – As with the previous point we’ve had “yum-plugin-version” for a long time, but now we’ve made it easier to use and put all it’s functions under a single “versionlock” sub-command. You can now also “exclude” specific versions you don’t want, instead of locking to known good specific ones you had tested. Continue reading…

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