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Red Hat Package Management

The redhat-config-packages application (say that three times fast) comes new with Red Hat Linux 8.0. You can use the Python program in this package to manage the packages that come with Red Hat Linux, using an interface that is very similar to the Red Hat Linux installation program. This similarity may make it easier for many users to manage their packages, although I found the program a bit short on explanations.
To run this program, you first have to do a bit of searching to find it. It appears under the System Settings menu from the main Red Hat Start menu under the default Bluecurve desktop. Select the Packages choice to launch this program. You can also start the program from the command line with the following command:
# redhat-config-packages
This program takes a long time to read in all the information and start up. Once started, the interface provides the same categories and much the same look as the Red Hat Linux installer, as shown in Figure 8-4.
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Figure 8-4: The redhat-config-packages package manager.
The packages tool divides the packages into groups. Inside each group, the packages are divided into two sets: standard and extra packages. (Red Hat places the packages into these categories, striving to make a reasonable division among the many packages that come with Linux.) If you click the check box for a group, the tool will queue up all the standard packages within that group for installation. If you uncheck a check box for a group that was checked before, the tool will queue up all the installed packages in that group for removal, both standard and extra.
Warning
Installing or removing all the packages in a group when you don’t know what is in the group is not a good idea.
To delve into a group and see what is inside, click the Details link associated with that group. Clicking the Details link will bring up a window where you can check individual packages for installation and uncheck individual packages for removal. Figure 8-5 shows the details of the Web Server group.
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Figure 8-5: Package details for the Web Server group.
Once you have selected all the packages you want to install, and unselected all the packages you want to remove, click the Update button on the main window of the package-management tool. After some processing, you should see the Completed System Preparation window, which lists the amount of disk space required for the new packages and the amount that will be freed by the packages to be removed. Figure 8-6 shows this window.
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Figure 8-6: The Completed Systems Preparation window.
Click the Show Details button to see a complete list of all the packages to be installed and removed.
Warning
If the packages you choose to install depend on any other packages, the package-management tool will automatically add these packages to the list to be installed. More important, if any packages installed on your system depend on any of the packages you have marked for removal, the tool will add those additional installed packages to the list to be removed. Always examine the Show Details window to see what will really be installed and removed.
Figure 8-7 shows the window with the package details.
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Figure 8-7: The Show Details window.
The package-management tool worries me. It has an absolutely beautiful look, but it tries to do too much, especially when removing packages. Always use this program with care. I much prefer to just launch it with single packages from the Nautilus file manager.