What is RPM and how do I use it? – Packagecloud Blog


Linux is one of the most popular operating systems. It powers numerous corporate servers and personal desktops. Among many, what makes their ecosystem strong are their package management systems. Those systems allow you to access a large number of packages.

By using them, people can easily install and use that software. RPM is one of the management programs that provides that functionality. In this article, we will learn what RPM is and how you can use it.

But, before you start, check out what you can achieve with Packagecloud. Packagecloud helps users manage packages. People can deploy to any environment from our intuitive interface, on-premises or in the cloud.

What is RPM?

RPM stands for Red Hat Package Manager. It is a free and open source package management system. The name, RPM, is derived from the .rpm file format. The manager was designed to be used for Linux distributions. Initially, it was made to be used on Red Hat Linux. Now, it is widely used in other Linux distributions, including Fedora, CentOS, OpenSUSE, OpenMandriva and Oracle Linux. Most RPM files are binary with the compiled version of the software.

RPMs are stored centrally in one or more repositories on the Internet. A repository location has its own RPM repositories that act as local mirrors of those Internet repositories or RPM collections that are maintained locally.

Why do people use it?

RPM provides a good range of convenient features for package management. Let’s take a look at the main benefits of using it:

  • RPM is easy and simple to use. It allows users to experience the simplest installation experience for Linux.
  • RPM files are pre-built according to Linux machines and distributions. This drastically reduces a compatibility error change during installation.
  • PRM packages become globally recognizable. If you manually download and install a package in /usr/local/, other software may not be able to use it.
  • When you remove a package using RPM, you can get rid of it cleanly with almost no trace. When you uninstall, it automatically checks for dependencies and safely removes the package.
  • RPM is known for its enhanced security. When you install packages by using RPM, you write logs to a database that keeps track of detailed information about the packages. If something is found to be suspicious, you can query the database. This also makes debugging easier.

How can you use it? Now, let’s find out how

you can

actually use it. Before you start using RPM, you probably already have a package that you want to install.

Before using the commands, make sure you get the sudo permission.


To install the dummy.rpm file

, you can run the following command: $ rpm -i [package_file_name].rpm


If you want to upgrade the version of an existing package, in this case, dummy_v11, run the following command:

$ rpm -U [package_file_name].rpm

Delete package

RPM To uninstall a package, you must use a package name instead of the full RPM file name. By adding more package names, you can delete multiple packages in a single command.

$ rpm -e [package_name] [other package_name…]

Here, the -e option means delete. For your information, you can add an option, -nodeps, in the command to forcibly delete the rpm package without checking its dependencies. However, unless absolutely necessary, it is not recommended as it may break other applications.

Let’s review more useful commands to retrieve

information from the rpm package.

View package information after installation

After you install

an RPM package, you can view more detailed information about the package

. -qi stands for query information.

$ rpm -qi [package_name]

Check the RPM

package information before installing

You can even check the package information before installing it. This command will then print the information.

$ rpm -qip [package_name]

Installed RPM

package list documentation

You can list the available documentation for an installation package. Use an option, -qdf (query document file).

$ rpm -qdf /usr/bin/[package_name]

Check RPM package

To verify an installed RPM package, try the following command

. $ rpm -Vp sqlbuddy-1.3.3-1.noarch.rpm

RPM vs. Packagecloud

We’ve learned how we can use RPM. The package management tool, as we could see, offers ways to efficiently manage Linux packages. However, when you start scaling your servers and have different Linux distributions, using RPM alone won’t be enough. You will need a scalable solution to manage packages for many servers that may have package management tools other than RPM. This section will give you a good opportunity to see how Packagecloud can help you manage packages in a scalable way.

Unified environment

When RPM is used on a server, it applies only to that server. To repeat it on all your servers, it will take a lot of time. In contrast, Packagecloud provides a way that you can deliver the packages you wrote to any infrastructure in a unified environment. You can easily create your own repositories and let each server install their packages through the Packagecloud CLI or API.


you can use RPM on many different Linux distributions, there are still operating systems that are not RPM-based. However, Packagecloud provides CLI and APIs to interact with its repositories in virtually all distributions using any of the major programming languages.


big difference between a paid service and an open source is the quality of support and documentation. Packagecloud maintains clean, up-to-date documentation that helps users easily navigate APIs and CLI commands. In addition, Packagecloud opens support channels (including advisory services) wide open for its users. They have a Slack channel and Twitter account so you can contact them whenever you need expert package management support.

Conclusion This

article introduced RPM and shared how to use the tool. In addition, we could see how using Packagecloud can do things differently. RPM has connected users to a wide range of powerful packages. The tool helped people use and manage packages easily. However, when you have different Linux distributions that need to be scaled, using RPM alone may not be enough. Packagecloud can fill the gap between your growing infrastructure and the need to manage your servers effectively.

To learn more about Packagecloud, try our free trial today.

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