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Fedora Software

Yum, Extras, and the Unfree

Because yum packages aren't automatically deleted after being installed, you might want to clean them out sometimes. To delete packages from /var/cache/yum subdirectories, type:

# yum clean packages

Replace the packages with headers (to clear out headers) or all (to clean headers and packages). To list RPMs that were installed from repositories outside of the main Fedora repositories, type the following:

# yum list extras

The list includes all installed packages not from Fedora Core (not just Fedora Extras packages).

Yum for Third-party Repositories
If the software you want is not in Fedora Core or Extras, try third-party yum repositories next. Some of these repositories, such as rpm.livna.org, offer packages that build on software in Fedora Core and Extras, but for various reasons can't be distributed in either of those repositories. The reasons may include:

  • Licensing: The software may be covered by licenses that prohibit it from being redistributed for commercial purposes.
  • Not Open Source: Some software that's given away freely may not be distributed with source code. For example, Nvidia and ATI give away Linux drivers to use with their video cards, but don't provide the source code.
  • Patent claims: The stickiest part of using software from third-party yum repositories is the issue of patents. In particular, some audio and video codecs are covered by patents that are compelling enough for Red Hat not to include software in Fedora that might infringe on those patents. While the software repositories described in this article claim to include only software that is freely distributable (because the person who wrote the code licensed it that way), protocols or concepts included in that software may have been patented by others. (So make yourself aware of patent issues that might apply to software you get from these repositories.)
Along with the issues just discussed, keep in mind that once you leave the safe confines of the Fedora Project you may get software that hasn't been as well tested or controlled. Although all GPL software is provided without warranty, software that's been reviewed by the excellent developers at Red Hat Inc. and the Fedora community stands a better chance of having problems detected, fixed, and deployed when things go wrong.

Here are some third-party repositories (those not affiliated with Fedora or Red Hat) that you can use with yum to get fun and useful software packages.

NOTE: Only add repositories that you need to yum on your system. Adding unnecessary repositories can slow down yum's performance, since all repositories are checked when you issue yum commands. Some third-party repositories also contain duplicate software that may cause conflicts.

Rpm.livna.org Repository
Rpm.livna.org (http://rpm.livna.org) began as an extension of the Fedora.us site and is a good place to get audio and video players (such as xine, mplayer, ffmpeg, ogle, and so on). You can configure yum on your local system to access the rpm.livna.org repository by installing the livna-release package. For Fedora Core 4, you could install that package as follows:

# rpm -Uhv http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/4/i386/
RPMS.lvn/livna-release-4-0.lvn.7.4.noarch.rpm

This package contains software that identifies the livna yum repository. If you have Nvidia or ATI video cards, Livna is a good place for drivers (see http://rpm.livna.org/livna-switcher.html). Here's a package sampling from Livna:

  • audacity: Multitrack audio editor.
  • dvdstyler: Cross-platform DVD authoring tool.
  • ffmpeg: Digital VCR and streaming server.
  • kernel-module-ntfs: Provides support for NTFS file systems in Linux.
  • madwifi: Kernel module and diagnostic tools for Atheros wireless devices.
  • mplayer: The popular video player. The mplayerplug-in the package lets you play video embedded in a Web page from your browser. The mplayer-gui package contains graphical controls for mplayer.
  • ndiswrapper: Enables you to use Windows drivers for certain wireless LAN cards.
There are many more package available from rpm.livna.org. To browse through available packages, check out: http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/4/i386/RPMS.lvn/repodata/.

FreshRPMs Repository
The FreshRPMs repository (www.freshrpms.net) also offers a good selection of audio and video players that are outside of mainstream Fedora repositories. As with Livna, you can install the GPG key and yum repository information (in /etc/yum.conf) for FreshRPMs from an RPM package. To do that for FC4, type the following (all on one line):

# rpm -Uhv http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/4/i386/
RPMS.freshrpms/freshrpms-release-1.1-1.fc.noarch.rpm

Packages of interest from FreshRPMs include:

  • alsaplayer: Audio player for the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture.
  • cinelerra: Audio and video capture, compositing, and editing software.
  • easytag: Utility to edit and write tags in audio files.
  • SheepShaver: A MacOS runtime environment for running classic Mac apps.
  • xine: Video and other multimedia player.
For other packages available from FreshRPMs, browse the FreshRPMs.net repository: http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/4/i386/RPMS.freshrpms.

Dag Repository
The Dag repository (http://dag.wieers.com/packages) contains over 45,000 RPMs from over 2400 different projects. Besides offering packages mentioned for other repositories, Dag offers packages of many smaller utilities. There's no RPM to automatically set up yum for the Dag repository, and the repository has not been updated for Fedora Core 4. However, you can find out what to add to your /etc/yum.repos.d directory to use Dag from the Dag FAQ (http://dag.wieers.com/home-made/apt/FAQ.php).

ATRPMs Repository
The ATRPMs repository contains many drivers for video cards, wireless cards, and other hardware not included with Fedora Core. If you want to try out a personal video recorder, this site also has RPMs for the MythTV project. (One caution: some packages in the ATRPMs repository will conflict with packages in Fedora Core and Extras.) You can install an RPM to configure FC4 to use yum:

# rpm -Uhv http://dl.atrpms.net/all/atrpms-package-config-103-2.rhfc4.at.i386.rpm

RPMs for Special Projects
There are cases where people have made special efforts to adapt a set of software packages to run on Fedora systems. The following are a couple of examples of those types of projects:

  • KDE-Red Hat Project (http://kde-redhat.sourceforge.net/): This project produces an unofficial version of the KDE desktop that can be used for Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This KDE distribution is popular because it includes components not in the KDE that comes with FC and RHEL (mostly due to licensing issues). The KDE-Red Hat site explains how to configure yum to download and install this set of KDE packages.
  • MythTV: The MythTV project (www.mythtv.org/) includes software for playing audio, video, and images, as well as a range of hardware support for driving TV cards, remote controls, and other hardware. While MythTV packages are available from the ATRPMs repository, some additional guidance for setting up MythTV for Fedora Core is available from Jarod Wilson's MythTVology site (http://wilsonnet.com/mythtv).

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.

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