General RPM information


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Q: What is rpm?
A: RPM Package Manager is a convenient way to distribute software for Linux systems.

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Q: What is a package?
A: A package is simply a collection of files bound together within an rpm file. “Source rpms” are used to distribute the original source code of an application and are identified by their suffix, “.src.rpm” “Binary rpms” are pre-compilied for a specific type of machine architecture with a suffix that depends on the architecture; usually, “i586.rpm” for Mandrake users.

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Q: Where do I find more detailed information about rpms?
A: There are four very good sources, read them in this order: the man page, the HOWTO at http://linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/RPM-HOWTO/index.html, the Mandrake RPM HOWTO at http://www.mandrakelinux.com/howtos/mdk-rpm/, and the RPM book from O’Reilly.

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Q: What is the purpose of this document?
A: Really short, quick answers for future Mandrake-Linux Guruz!

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Q: Should I get an i686 rpm because it is better then an i586 rpm?
A: The origin Pentium processor is the “i586” architecture. The Pentium II/III/IV processors are all “i686” architectures. All of these are backwards compatible with previous architectures. You’ll find lots of “i386” rpms around that will work with any processor.

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Q: Should I install an rpm that I found on some website?
A: Generally speaking, stick to mandrake-provided rpms. And when possible, stick to rpms that within your version of mandrake (ie: installing random rpms from 8.2 might not work well with your 8.1 system)

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Q: What about rpmfind.net?
A: I think rpmfind.net is useless with a mandrake installation. All it does is help you find the wrong version of the software you actually want. Look at the ‘Mandriva URPM* Tools’ section elsewhere on this site for a better way to find rpms.

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Q: All rpm commands hang, including urpmi, rpmdrake, and MandrakeUpdate, what’s up with this crap?
A: A previous rpm command was interrupted (see my page on kill -9) and left behind database lock files. ‘rm -f /var/lib/rpm/__*; rpm –rebuilddb’ should fix you up.

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