Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Fedora Software

Yum, Extras, and the Unfree

Excerpted in part from Red Hat Fedora and Enterprise Linux 4 Bible by Christopher Negus (Wiley Publishing, 2005)

In its Fedora Core Linux system, the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Project aims to only include software that is Open Source and free of reasonable patent claims. As a result, at random intervals, an article or mailing list post will exclaim how Fedora sucks because it doesn't have xyz media player, certain file system support, or other favorite that's in some other Linux.

Despite the fact that Red Hat sometimes seems bent on making money, proponents of the free and Open Source software movement can feel relatively safe that no one will hide code or sue them for using Fedora Core. But if not having a piece of software that's in some other Linux (or Windows) system is keeping you from switching to Fedora, then there may be a simple answer. You might just need to know where to look and what to do.

Adding Software to Fedora
Fedora is a great foundation on which to build a free cutting-edge desktop or personal server system. With Fedora Core 4, Red Hat has finally done more with Fedora than make it a testbed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It has put tools and projects in place to let outside initiatives package and distribute almost any Open Source software for Fedora.

Of course, you can go straight to a software project site (try Sourceforge.net) to download and build the software you want yourself. But a lot of people prefer to have dependencies already worked out, a central mechanism for tracking bugs, and the ability to manage software with RPM tools. So, they look for software that's already in RPM format.

While the underlying RPM tools and database on a Fedora system are excellent for installing, querying, and removing individual packages, they weren't intended for working with software repositories. For Fedora, the tool of choice is the Yellow Dog Updater Modified more commonly referred to as yum.

There are several features that have made yum such an effective tool for getting and updating the software you use with Fedora:

  • Repositories: By configuring yum to look to online repositories for packages you request, you don't need to have the software package you want already on your hard disk or CD. Fedora Core 4 comes already configured to point to online repositories for Fedora Core and Fedora Extras (more on that later). So all you have to do is ask for any packages from those two areas with yum to have the packages you want downloaded and installed.
  • Dependencies: Not only does yum get the packages you request, but it also finds any dependent packages you need to get requested packages to work. So, request package A and yum asks you if you also want to install required packages B, C, and D as well. Say yes, and yum will download and install them all.
  • Updates and Upgrades: As security fixes and bug fixes become available, the Fedora Project adds updated packages to yum repositories. A single yum command can get the latest update for some or all of your packages. Yum also supports upgrades, where obsolete packages are removed.
While yum and software repositories (both official and unofficial sites) have been around for a while, the whole process only started working well in Fedora Core 4. That's because Red Hat put a good structure in place where added software can expand out from the Core.

Expanding from Fedora Core
The Fedora Project wants to keep Fedora Core to a reasonable size. So far, reasonable has meant four binary software CDs (although FC5 in testing has, at the moment, spilled over to five CDs). For those who want a reliable foundation and a set of CDs that can be distributed without costing too much (even four is a lot to include with a book), the approach makes sense.

But what about the software that's left out to make room for the latest whatever-is-starting-to-get-hot-for-enterprise software? Maybe you liked Abiword or ncftp and don't want to figure out how to get it and maintain it yourself when it moved out of Core. Most of those packages aren't gone...they've just moved into Fedora Extras.

Fedora Extras packages are available for FC3 and FC4. Both i386 and 64-bit Extras RPMs are available for both releases, while PowerPC versions are available for FC4 as well.

Fedora Core aims to include packages that fit in - in other words, software with localized user interface and accessibility support; software that integrates with other Fedora Core software, without duplicating functionality. As a result, Extras includes extra applications that duplicate stuff already in Core (such as window managers, audio players, and so on) or are more recreational (like games).

Because Fedora Extras, like Fedora Core, meets Fedora Project guidelines (Open Source and patent issues), yum in FC4 is pre-configured to grab packages from Fedora Extras. You must set up yum yourself to use outside repositories.

Yum for Fedora Core and Extras
With a connection to the Internet and Fedora Core 4 installed you can install any packages from Fedora Core or Extras using yum, with no additional configuration. Here's how to find out what's available:

  • Fedora Core: Open the Package Management utility by running system-config-packages (Desktop -> System Settings -> Add/Remove Packages). Next to each category of software, select Details to see which packages are and are not installed. Then install packages from an FC4 CD using that window or get packages using yum.
  • Fedora Extras: To find packages available for Fedora Extras, start at the Fedora Project wiki (http://fedoraproject/wiki/Extras). You can elect to see a list of packages for your Fedora release (FC3 or FC4) and architecture (i386, x86_64, or PPC).
If you encounter an RPM on the Web that doesn't describe the package available, you can use the rpm command to list its contents. Just copy and paste the address of the package to an rpm -qp -i command. For example:

# rpm -qp -i http://fedoraproject.org/extras/4/i386/clamav-0.87.1-1.fc4.i386.rpm

To install a package from Fedora Core or Extras, you need to run yum as the root user from a shell. Here's an example of yum to install the clamav package from Fedora Extras:

# yum install clamav

Select yes and clamav and dependent packages download and install. Instead of clamav, use any package name from the yum repositories. To check for updates to an installed package, use check-update:

# yum check-update clamav

If an update to the package is available, use yum with the update option as follows:

# yum update clamav

To check for updates for packages installed in Fedora - do this after you first install Fedora - type the following:

# yum check-update

If you want to update all the packages with available updates, type the following:

# yum update

Yum can also list available packages, as well as those that are already installed. To see a list of all packages available for download from the repositories you have set up, type:

# yum list | less

Adding less lets you scroll through the list (it could be long, depending on your repositories). This first lists installed packages, then packages still available from the repositories. Adding the -C option to yum uses cached repository information, which can make it run faster, but may not result in the latest information.

If you try to install a package and it fails with a message like "package xyzpackage needs xyzfile (not provided)" check for packages that include the missing file using the provides option:

# yum provides missingfile

With provides, yum searches your repositories for the file you entered (instead of missingfile) and returns the name of the packages that include that file. To search software descriptions in repositories for a particular string, use the search option. For example, this searches for arcade in any package description (you'll find some games with this search):

# yum search arcade

More Stories By Chris Negus

Chris Negus is the author of the best-selling Red Hat Linux Bible series, Red Hat Fedora and Enterprise Linux 4 Bible, Linux Toys II, Linux Bible 2006 Edition, and Linux Troubleshooting Bible.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...