rpm - Linux Command - Unix Command

Install RPM packages directly on Red Hat and Fedora Linux systems

The rpm command is one of the original Linux package managers. RPM even stands for Redhat Package Manager. Unlike more advanced package managers, like DNF, rpm is simple and requires much more manual intervention. That said, it's still a capable package management solution that serves as an excellent backup on the Redhat family of Linux distributions.

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Using RPM

Most commonly, you're going to run into a situation where you're using rpm instead of DNF when you have a locally downloaded .rpm package that you want to install. Granted, DNF can handle this, but if for one reason or another, it's not available, you can rely on rpm instead. That would look something like this:

sudo rpm -i /path/to/packagename.rpm

The -i flag tells rpm to install, and the path leads to the package to be installed.

That's not all that nice to look at. Most people use a combination of flags, -ivh, to display more detailed information as the rpm command installs a package.

sudo rpm -ivh /path/to/packagename.rpm

The rpm command also works over the web, allowing you to simultaneously download and install a package.

sudo rpm -ivh https://example.com/fedora/32/packagename.rpm

If you already have a package installed, but you're looking to install a later version, you can use rpm to upgrade it. The upgrade option, -U, is essentially a variant of the install functionality that will look to replace an existing package with a newer version, keeping a backup of the previous version, in case you want to roll back.

sudo rpm -Uvh https://example.com/fedora/32/packagename.rpm

Like any other package manager, you can use rpm to remove packages from your system too. Use the -e fag along with -vv for very verbose output to make sure you're not accidentally removing something you want.

sudo rpm -evv packagename

If you want more information about your packages before you install them, rpm has you covered there too. The -q flag will let you query a package. Combine it with -p and -R to get a detailed report of the packages capabilities and the dependencies it requires. Altogether, it looks like this:

sudo rpm -qpR /path/to/packagename.rpm

You can also use rpm to list your installed packages.

sudo rpm -qa

That might be overwhelming, so if you're looking for something in particular, pipe it to grep.

sudo rpm -qa | grep -i search

If you just want to see your most recent additions, you can do that too.

sudo rpm -qa --last

Those are all the most common ways you'll find yourself working with the rpm command. It is capable of much more, though. You can explore everything that rpm can do in the complete technical breakdown below.

Technical Breakdown of RPM

Linux / Unix Command: rpm


rpm - RPM Package Manager




rpm {-q|--query} [select-options] [query-options]


rpm {-V|--verify} [select-options] [verify-options]


rpm --import PUBKEY ...


rpm {-K|--checksig} [--nosignature] [--nodigestPACKAGE_FILE ...




rpm {-i|--install} [install-optionsPACKAGE_FILE ...


rpm {-U|--upgrade} [install-optionsPACKAGE_FILE ...


rpm {-F|--freshen} [install-optionsPACKAGE_FILE ...


rpm {-e|--erase} [--allmatches] [--nodeps] [--noscripts] [--notriggers] [--repackage] [--testPACKAGE_NAME ...




rpm {--initdb|--rebuilddb}


rpm {--addsign|--resignPACKAGE_FILE ...


rpm {--querytags|--showrc}


rpm {--setperms|--setugidsPACKAGE_NAME ...




[PACKAGE_NAME] [-a,--all] [-f,--file FILE] [-g,--group GROUP] {-p,--package PACKAGE_FILE] [--fileid MD5] [--hdrid SHA1] [--pkgid MD5] [--tid TID] [--querybynumber HDRNUM] [--triggeredby PACKAGE_NAME] [--whatprovides CAPABILITY] [--whatrequires CAPABILITY]




[--changelog] [-c,--configfiles] [-d,--docfiles] [--dump] [--filesbypkg] [-i,--info] [--last] [-l,--list] [--provides] [--qf,--queryformat QUERYFMT] [-R,--requires] [--scripts] [-s,--state] [--triggers,--triggerscripts]




[--nodeps] [--nofiles] [--noscripts] [--nodigest] [--nosignature] [--nolinkto] [--nomd5] [--nosize] [--nouser] [--nogroup] [--nomtime] [--nomode] [--nordev]




[--aid] [--allfiles] [--badreloc] [--excludepath OLDPATH] [--excludedocs] [--force] [-h,--hash] [--ignoresize] [--ignorearch] [--ignoreos] [--includedocs] [--justdb] [--nodeps] [--nodigest] [--nosignature] [--nosuggest] [--noorder] [--noscripts] [--notriggers] [--oldpackage] [--percent] [--prefix NEWPATH] [--relocate OLDPATH=NEWPATH] [--repackage] [--replacefiles] [--replacepkgs] [--test]

RPM Description

rpm is a powerful Package Manager, which can be used to build, install, query, verify, update, and erase individual software packages. A package consists of an archive of files and meta-data used to install and erase the archive files. The meta-data includes helper scripts, file attributes, and descriptive information about the package. Packages come in two varieties: binary packages, used to encapsulate software to be installed, and source packages, containing the source code and recipe necessary to produce binary packages.

One of the following basic modes must be selected: Query, Verify, Signature Check, Install/Upgrade/Freshen, Uninstall, Initialize Database, Rebuild Database, Resign, Add Signature, Set Owners/Groups, Show Querytags, and Show Configuration.

General Options

These options can be used in all the different modes.

-?, --help

Print a longer usage message then normal.


Print a single line containing the version number of rpm being used.


Print as little as possible - normally only error messages will be displayed.


Print verbose information - normally routine progress messages will be displayed.


Print lots of ugly debugging information.

--rcfile FILELIST

Each of the files in the colon separated FILELIST is read sequentially by rpm for configuration information. Only the first file in the list must exist, and tildes will be expanded to the value of$HOME. The default FILELIST is /usr/lib/rpm/rpmrc:/usr/lib/rpm/redhat/rpmrc:~/.rpmrc.

--pipe CMD

Pipes the output of rpm to the command CMD.

--dbpath DIRECTORY

Use the database in DIRECTORY rathen than the default path /var/lib/rpm


Use the file system tree rooted at DIRECTORY for all operations. Note that this means the database within DIRECTORY will be used for dependency checks and any scriptlet(s) (e.g.%post if installing, or %prep if building, a package) will be run after a chroot(2) toDIRECTORY.

Install and Upgrade Options

The general form of an rpm install command is


rpm {-i|--install} [install-optionsPACKAGE_FILE ...


This installs a new package.

The general form of an rpm upgrade command is


rpm {-U|--upgrade} [install-optionsPACKAGE_FILE ...


This upgrades or installs the package currently installed to a newer version. This is the same as install, except all other version(s) of the package are removed after the new package is installed.


rpm {-F|--freshen} [install-optionsPACKAGE_FILE ...


This will upgrade packages, but only if an earlier version currently exists. The PACKAGE_FILE may be specified as an FTP or http URL, in which case the package will be downloaded before being installed. See FTP/HTTP OPTIONS for information on rpm's internal ftp and http client support.


Add suggested packages to the transaction set when needed.


Installs or upgrades all the missingok files in the package, regardless if they exist.


Used with --relocate, permit relocations on all file paths, not just those OLDPATH's included in the binary package relocation hint(s).

--excludepath OLDPATH

Don't install files whose name begins with OLDPATH.


Don't install any files which are marked as documentation (which includes man pages and texinfo documents).


Same as using --replacepkgs--replacefiles, and --oldpackage.

-h, --hash

Print 50 hash marks as the package archive is unpacked. Use with -v|--verbose for a nicer display.


Don't check mount file systems for sufficient disk space before installing this package.


Allow installation or upgrading even if the architectures of the binary package and host don't match.


Allow installation or upgrading even if the operating systems of the binary package and host don't match.


Install documentation files. This is the default behavior.


Update only the database, not the filesystem.


Don't verify package or header digests when reading.


Don't verify package or header signatures when reading.


Don't do a dependency check before installing or upgrading a package.


Don't suggest package(s) that provide a missing dependency.


Don't reorder the packages for an install. The list of packages would normally be reordered to satisfy dependancies.






Don't execute the scriptlet of the same name. The --noscripts option is equivalent to

--nopre --nopost --nopreun --nopostun

and turns off the execution of the corresponding %pre%post%preun, and %postunscriptlet(s).





Don't execute any trigger scriptlet of the named type. The --notriggers option is equivalent to

--notriggerin --notriggerun --notriggerpostun

and turns off execution of the corresponding %triggerin%triggerun, and%triggerpostun scriptlet(s).


Allow an upgrade to replace a newer package with an older one.


Print percentages as files are unpacked from the package archive. This is intended to makerpm easy to run from other tools.

--prefix NEWPATH

For relocateable binary packages, translate all file paths that start with the installation prefix in the package relocation hint(s) to NEWPATH.


For relocatable binary packages, translate all file paths that start with OLDPATH in the package relocation hint(s) to NEWPATH. This option can be used repeatedly if severalOLDPATH's in the package are to be relocated.


Re-package the files before erasing. The previously installed package will be named according to the macro %_repackage_name_fmt and will be created in the directory named by the macro %_repackage_dir (default value is /var/tmp).


Install the packages even if they replace files from other, already installed, packages.


Install the packages even if some of them are already installed on this system.


Do not install the package, simply check for and report potential conflicts.

Erase Options

The general form of an rpm erase command is


rpm {-e|--erase} [--allmatches] [--nodeps] [--noscripts] [--notriggers] [--repackage] [--testPACKAGE_NAME ...


The following options may also be used:


Remove all versions of the package which match PACKAGE_NAME. Normally an error is issued if PACKAGE_NAME matches multiple packages.


Don't check dependencies before uninstalling the packages.




Don't execute the scriptlet of the same name. The --noscripts option during package erase is equivalent to

--nopreun --nopostun

and turns off the execution of the corresponding %preun, and %postun scriptlet(s).




Don't execute any trigger scriptlet of the named type. The --notriggers option is equivalent to

--notriggerun --notriggerpostun

and turns off execution of the corresponding %triggerun, and %triggerpostun scriptlet(s).


Re-package the files before erasing. The previously installed package will be named according to the macro %_repackage_name_fmt and will be created in the directory named by the macro %_repackage_dir (default value is /var/tmp).


Don't really uninstall anything, just go through the motions. Useful in conjunction with the -vv option for debugging.

Query Options

The general form of an rpm query command is


rpm {-q|--query} [select-options] [query-options]


You may specify the format that package information should be printed in. To do this, you use the

--qf|--queryformat QUERYFMT

option, followed by the QUERYFMT format string. Query formats are modifed versions of the standard printf(3) formatting. The format is made up of static strings (which may include standard C character escapes for newlines, tabs, and other special characters) and printf(3) type formatters. As rpm already knows the type to print, the type specifier must be omitted however, and replaced by the name of the header tag to be printed, enclosed by {} characters. Tag names are case insesitive, and the leading RPMTAG_ portion of the tag name may be omitted as well.

Alternate output formats may be requested by following the tag with :typetag. Currently, the following types are supported:


Wrap a public key in ASCII armor.


Encode binary data using base64.


Use strftime(3) "%c" format.


Use strftime(3) "%a %b %d %Y" format.


Format dependency flags.


Format file flags.


Format in hexadecimal.


Format in octal.


Format file permissions.


Escape single quotes for use in a script.


Display trigger suffix.

For example, to print only the names of the packages queried, you could use %{NAME} as the format string. To print the packages name and distribution information in two columns, you could use %-30{NAME}%{DISTRIBUTION}rpm will print a list of all of the tags it knows about when it is invoked with the --querytags argument.

There are two subsets of options for querying: package selection, and information selection.

Package Selection Options



Query installed package named PACKAGE_NAME.

-a, --all

Query all installed packages.

-f, --file FILE

Query package owning FILE.

--fileid MD5

Query package that contains a given file identifier, i.e. the MD5 digest of the file contents.

-g, --group GROUP

Query packages with the group of GROUP.

--hdrid SHA1

Query package that contains a given header identifier, i.e. the SHA1 digest of the immutable header region.

-p, --package PACKAGE_FILE

Query an (uninstalled) package PACKAGE_FILE. The PACKAGE_FILE may be specified as anftp or http style URL, in which case the package header will be downloaded and queried. SeeFTP/HTTP OPTIONS for information on rpm's internal ftp and http client support. ThePACKAGE_FILE argument(s), if not a binary package, will be interpreted as an ASCII package manifest. Comments are permitted, starting with a '#', and each line of a package manifest file may include white space seperated glob expressions, including URL's with remote glob expressions, that will be expanded to paths that are substituted in place of the package manifest as additional PACKAGE_FILE arguments to the query.

--pkgid MD5

Query package that contains a given package identifier, i.e. the MD5 digest of the combined header and payload contents.

--querybynumber HDRNUM

Query the HDRNUMth database entry directly; this is useful only for debugging.

--specfile SPECFILE

Parse and query SPECFILE as if it were a package. Although not all the information (e.g. file lists) is available, this type of query permits rpm to be used to extract information from spec files without having to write a specfile parser.

--tid TID

Query package(s) that have a given TID transaction identifier. A unix time stamp is currently used as a transaction identifier. All package(s) installed or erased within a single transaction have a common identifier.

--triggeredby PACKAGE_NAME

Query packages that are triggered by package(s) PACKAGE_NAME.

--whatprovides CAPABILITY

Query all packages that provide the CAPABILITY capability.

--whatrequires CAPABILITY

Query all packages that requires CAPABILITY for proper functioning.

Package Query Options



Display change information for the package.

-c, --configfiles

List only configuration files (implies -l).

-d, --docfiles

List only documentation files (implies -l).


Dump file information as follows:


path size mtime md5sum mode owner group isconfig isdoc rdev symlink

This option must be used with at least one of -l-c-d.


List all the files in each selected package.

-i, --info

Display package information, including name, version, and description. This uses the --queryformat if one was specified.


Orders the package listing by install time such that the latest packages are at the top.

-l, --list

List files in package.


List capabilities this package provides.

-R, --requires

List packages on which this package depends.


List the package specific scriptlet(s) that are used as part of the installation and uninstallation processes.

-s, --state

Display the states of files in the package (implies -l). The state of each file is one of normal,not installed, or replaced.

--triggers, --triggerscripts

Display the trigger scripts, if any, which are contained in the package.

Verify Options

The general form of an rpm verify command is


rpm {-V|--verify} [select-options] [verify-options]


Verifying a package compares information about the installed files in the package with information about the files taken from the package metadata stored in the rpm database. Among other things, verifying compares the size, MD5 sum, permissions, type, owner and group of each file. Any discrepencies are displayed. Files that were not installed from the package, for example, documentation files excluded on installation using the "--excludedocs" option, will be silently ignored.

The package selection options are the same as for package querying (including package manifest files as arguments). Other options unique to verify mode are:


Don't verify dependencies of packages.


Don't verify package or header digests when reading.


Don't verify any attributes of package files.


Don't execute the %verifyscript scriptlet (if any).


Don't verify package or header signatures when reading.









Don't verify the corresponding file attribute.

The format of the output is a string of 8 characters, a possible attribute marker:


c %config configuration file.
d %doc documentation file.
g %ghost file (i.e. the file contents are not included in the package payload).
l %license license file.
r %readme readme file.

from the package header, followed by the file name. Each of the 8 characters denotes the result of a comparison of attribute(s) of the file to the value of those attribute(s) recorded in the database. A single "." (period) means the test passed, while a single "?" (question mark) indicates the test could not be performed (e.g. file permissions prevent reading). Otherwise, the (mnemonically emBoldened) character denotes failure of the corresponding --verify test:


S file Size differs
M Mode differs (includes permissions and file type)
5 MD5 sum differs
D Device major/minor number mis-match
L readLink(2) path mis-match
U User ownership differs
G Group ownership differs
T mTime differs


Digital Signature and Digest Verification

The general forms of rpm digital signature commands are


rpm --import PUBKEY ...


rpm {--checksig} [--nosignature] [--nodigestPACKAGE_FILE ...


The --checksig option checks all the digests and signatures contained in PACKAGE_FILE to ensure the integrity and origin of the package. Note that signatures are now verified whenever a package is read, and --checksig is useful to verify all of the digests and signatures associated with a package.

Digital signatures cannot be verified without a public key. An ascii armored public key can be added to the rpm database using --import. An imported public key is carried in a header, and key ring management is performed exactly like package management. For example, all currently imported public keys can be displayed by:

rpm -qa gpg-pubkey*

Details about a specific public key, when imported, can be displayed by querying. Here's information about the Red Hat GPG/DSA key:

rpm -qi gpg-pubkey-db42a60e

Finally, public keys can be erased after importing just like packages. Here's how to remove the Red Hat GPG/DSA key

rpm -e gpg-pubkey-db42a60e

Signing a Package


rpm --addsign|--resign PACKAGE_FILE ...


Both of the --addsign and --resign options generate and insert new signatures for each packagePACKAGE_FILE given, replacing any existing signatures. There are two options for historical reasons, there is no difference in behavior currently.

Using GPG to Sign Packages

In order to sign packages using GPG, rpm must be configured to run GPG and be able to find a key ring with the appropriate keys. By default, rpm uses the same conventions as GPG to find key rings, namely the $GNUPGHOME environment variable. If your key rings are not located where GPG expects them to be, you will need to configure the macro %_gpg_path to be the location of the GPG key rings to use.

For compatibility with older versions of GPG, PGP, and rpm, only V3 OpenPGP signature packets should be configured. Either DSA or RSA verification algorithms can be used, but DSA is preferred.

If you want to be able to sign packages you create yourself, you also need to create your own public and secret key pair (see the GPG manual). You will also need to configure the rpm macros


The signature type. Right now only gpg and pgp are supported.


The name of the "user" whose key you wish to use to sign your packages.

For example, to be able to use GPG to sign packages as the user "John Doe " from the key rings located in /etc/rpm/.gpg using the executable /usr/bin/gpg you would include


%_signature gpg
%_gpg_path /etc/rpm/.gpg
%_gpg_name John Doe
%_gpgbin /usr/bin/gpg

in a macro configuration file. Use /etc/rpm/macros for per-system configuration and ~/.rpmmacrosfor per-user configuration.

Rebuild Database Options

The general form of an rpm rebuild database command is


rpm {--initdb|--rebuilddb} [-v] [--dbpath DIRECTORY] [--root DIRECTORY]


Use --initdb to create a new database, use --rebuilddb to rebuild the database indices from the installed package headers.


The command

rpm --showrc

shows the values rpm will use for all of the options are currently set in rpmrc and macrosconfiguration file(s).

FTP/HTTP Options

rpm can act as an FTP and/or HTTP client so that packages can be queried or installed from the internet. Package files for install, upgrade, and query operations may be specified as an ftp or httpstyle URL:


If the :PASSWORD portion is omitted, the password will be prompted for (once per user/hostname pair). If both the user and password are omitted, anonymous ftp is used. In all cases, passive (PASV) ftp transfers are performed.

rpm allows the following options to be used with ftp URLs:

--ftpproxy HOST

The host HOST will be used as a proxy server for all ftp transfers, which allows users to ftp through firewall machines which use proxy systems. This option may also be specified by configuring the macro %_ftpproxy.

--ftpport HOST

The TCP PORT number to use for the ftp connection on the proxy ftp server instead of the default port. This option may also be specified by configuring the macro %_ftpport.

rpm allows the following options to be used with http URLs:

--httpproxy HOST

The host HOST will be used as a proxy server for all http transfers. This option may also be specified by configuring the macro %_httpproxy.

--httpport PORT

The TCP PORT number to use for the http connection on the proxy http server instead of the default port. This option may also be specified by configuring the macro %_httpport.

Legacy Issues: Executing rpmbuild

The build modes of rpm are now resident in the /usr/bin/rpmbuild executable. Although legacy compatibility provided by the popt aliases below has been adequate, the compatibility is not perfect; hence build mode compatibility through popt aliases is being removed from rpm. Install therpmbuild package, and see rpmbuild(8) for documentation of all the rpm build modes previously documented here in rpm(8).

Add the following lines to /etc/popt if you wish to continue invoking rpmbuild from the rpmcommand line:


rpm exec --bp rpmb -bp
rpm exec --bc rpmb -bc
rpm exec --bi rpmb -bi
rpm exec --bl rpmb -bl
rpm exec --ba rpmb -ba
rpm exec --bb rpmb -bb
rpm exec --bs rpmb -bs
rpm exec --tp rpmb -tp
rpm exec --tc rpmb -tc
rpm exec --ti rpmb -ti
rpm exec --tl rpmb -tl
rpm exec --ta rpmb -ta
rpm exec --tb rpmb -tb
rpm exec --ts rpmb -ts
rpm exec --rebuild rpmb --rebuild
rpm exec --recompile rpmb --recompile
rpm exec --clean rpmb --clean
rpm exec --rmsource rpmb --rmsource
rpm exec --rmspec rpmb --rmspec
rpm exec --target rpmb --target
rpm exec --short-circuit rpmb --short-circuit




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