A post for the beginning linux enthusiast. I realize it is sometimes rather hard to find the package or program you are looking for. Specially for linux, it’s indeed rather confusing specially when you just started using linux.

But no worries, there is a tool that can make your life a lot easier. It’s called YUM, the Yellowdog Updater, Modified. This tool, which is by the way a command line tool, is designed to easly install or modify packages on your linux installation.
Let’s say you want to install firefox on your linux installation, you can open up a terminal, log in as root and type:

yum install firefox

Next thing you know is that yum is downloading and installing firefox for you. I’m not sure, but I think that there is a basic GUI available as well these days… (but then again I am a command-line person).
How does YUM know where to get all the files and data? Quite simple actually, it has a repository configured which describe all the places where YUM can start looking for a package. About this repository, normally spoken each and every linux distribution that supports YUM has it own repository. However, if not, you will have to create your own. Which can be a pain in the ass, I know. But that is even what the official documentation says… And I quote from the YUM FAQ:

Q. 2: Where do I find a repository to update my system which is running distribution <XYZ>?

A. We have no idea. Your distribution should maintain their own list on this subject. If they don’t support yum but you want to use it anyway you are probably going to have to make your own repository.

So yes, I agree, it may actually be a little hard to get started. But as I said, most supporting linux distributions have their own repository.

Maybe interesting to know is which Linux distributions YUM is delivered with. Well… quite a lot actually, but the most known are Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, CentOS. Again, these are just the 3 more commonly used… A distribution like Ubuntu however has another tool that does something similar, it’s called apt-get.

Give it a go, you’ll see that, as with most things, it really isn’t that hard at all ;-).

Oh, the official website of YUM is http://yum.baseurl.org/.


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