How To Install RPM Packages Using Yum Extender

Install RPM Packages Using Yum Extender

If you are using one of the major RPM based distributions such as Fedora or CentOS then you might find the GNOME package manager a bit painful to use.

Debian, Ubuntu and Mint users already know that the best tool for installing software is not the software centre.

The main issue with the Ubuntu software centre is that it doesn't return all the results that are available in the repositories and it is sometimes hard to actually see what is available.

There are far too many adverts for packages that you can buy.

Command line users will use apt-get because it provides direct access to all the available repositories and the results are filtered correctly when you search for a package name or a type of package.

Not everybody is happy using the command line however and the intermediate solution is to use the Synaptic Package Manager.

The Synaptic Package Manager isn't particularly pretty but it is fully functional, provides all the features of apt-get but does it in a graphical and more visual manner.

Fedora and CentOS users who are using the GNOME desktop environment have access to the GNOME software installer.

Much like the Ubuntu Software Centre this software is a bit unwieldy. From a CentOS user's point of view it annoys me that it says "Queuing" or "Downloading Packages" and it takes ages to do it. Quite often the queuing is caused by a version of packagekit already running and if you try and install via Yum it tells you about the other process which you can easily kill.

Command line users of Fedora and CentOS will use Yum to install software in the same way Ubuntu users will use apt-get and openSUSE users will use Zypper.

A graphical equivalent of Synaptic for RPM packages is Yum Extender which can be installed using the GNOME software installer.

The actual YUM Extender interface is basic yet fully functional and you will find it easier to use than other tools.

The easiest way to find what you are looking for is to simply search for it by entering either the name of the application or the type of application in the search box.

There are a number of radio buttons under the search box as follows:

  • Updates
  • Available
  • Installed
  • All
  • Groups
  • Categories

You can filter all of your search results by any of these listed items.

The default option when you first load Yum Extender is to show all available updates and you can install them by checking the boxes and clicking apply. If you have lots of updates then selecting them individually might not be the best option so you can select them all by clicking the select all button.

The positioning of the buttons are a little out of eyeshot so you might not notice them straight away. They are in the lower right corner of the screen.

Selecting the available option without any search criteria lists every available package in the selected repositories whereas the all option shows all the packages that can be installed

If you want to see a list of all the packages installed on your system choose the installed radio button.

The Groups option shows a list of categories as follows:

  • Applications
  • System
  • Databases
  • Desktops
  • Development
  • High Availability
  • MATE Desktop
  • Resilient Storage
  • Servers
  • System Management
  • Virtualisation
  • Web Services

If the groups shows categories then what does the categories option show?

The categories option lets you select by either size or repository. So if you wanted only software from the rpmfusion-free-updates repository you can simply select that option and a list of packages for that repository will appear.

Similarly if you are looking for a small screenshot tool then you might choose to search by size which groups packages into the following sizes:

  • 0 - 100 kb
  • 100 kb - 1 mb
  • 1 mb - 10 mb
  • 10 mb - 50 mb
  • 50+ mb

When you are searching, the default search options are by:

  • Name
  • Summary
  • Description

By clicking on the magnifying glass next to the search box you can change these options. For instance you can turn off searching by name, summary and description or you can add architecture as a search option.

When you search for an application the groups and categories radio buttons disappear. This happens because groups and categories are more for browsing than searching. To get them to reappear you need to click the little brush icon at the end of the search box to remove the filtering.

When you search for packages or browse groups and categories a list of packages will appear in the bottom window and the information returned by default is as follows:

  • Package name
  • Version
  • Architecture
  • Summary
  • Repository
  • File Size

Clicking on one of the packages returns a description in the very bottom pane. The description usually contains a lot of text and a link to the project's website.

Next to the package description there are 5 icons that change the information which appears in the bottom pane:

  • Show description
  • Update information
  • Package changelog
  • Package filelist
  • Package dependencies

On the left side of the screen there are 5 icons which perform the following functions:

  • Perform actions on packages
  • Work with pending actions
  • Select active repositories
  • Watch yum history
  • View output

Incidentally all of these options are mirrored in the view menu at the top of the screen.

The active repositories lists all the available repositories from which you can install software. To activate them place a check mark in the box.

Under the edit menu option you can choose to edit preferences. Options that you may wish to change include loading a list of packages at launch, type ahead searching, autochecking for updates and using sortable columns. There are also more advanced preferences available.

Finally there is the options menu which lets you choose whether to show broken packages or not (also available from preferences), show newest only, no gpg check and clean unused requirements.