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Chapter 15. Installing and Updating Red Hat Linux Packages

Red Hat Linux consists of various software applications and utilities, known as RPM packages. A package is just a file that contains a software program.

This chapter explains three ways to update your system: using Red Hat Network, using the online Errata List, and using the Red Hat Linux Installation CD-ROMs.

15.1. Red Hat Network

Red Hat Network is an Internet solution for managing one or more Red Hat Linux systems. All Security Alerts, Bug Fix Alerts, and Enhancement Alerts (collectively known as Errata Alerts) can be downloaded directly from Red Hat using the Red Hat Update Agent standalone application or through the RHN website available at

Figure 15-1. Your RHN

Red Hat Network saves users time because they receive email when updated packages are released. Users do not have to search the Web for updated packages or security alerts. By default, Red Hat Network installs the packages as well. Users do not have to learn how to use RPM or worry about resolving software package dependencies; RHN does it all.

Each Red Hat Network account comes with:

  • Errata Alerts — learn when Security Alerts, Bug Fix Alerts, and Enhancement Alerts are issued for all the systems in your network through the Basic interface

    Figure 15-2. Relevant Errata

  • Automatic email notifications — receive an email notification when an Errata Alert is issued for your system

  • Scheduled Errata Updates — schedule delivery of Errata Updates

  • Package installation — Schedule package installation on one or more systems with the click of a button

  • Red Hat Update Agent — use the Red Hat Update Agent to download the latest software packages for your system (with optional package installation)

  • Red Hat Network website — manage multiple systems, downloaded individual packages, and schedule actions such as Errata Updates through a secure Web browser connection from any computer

To start using Red Hat Network, follow these three basic steps:

  1. Create a System Profile using one of the following methods:

    • Registering the system with RHN during the Setup Agent the first time your system boots after installation.

    • Select Main Menu Button => System Tools => Red Hat Network on your desktop.

    • Execute the command up2date from a shell prompt.

  2. Log in to RHN at and entitle the system to a service offering. Everyone receives a free Red Hat Network account for one system. Additional accounts can be purchased.

  3. Start scheduling updates through the RHN website or download and install Errata Updates with the Red Hat Update Agent.

For more detailed instructions, read the Red Hat Network User Reference Guide available at


Red Hat Linux includes the Red Hat Network Notification Tool, a convenient panel icon that displays visible alerts when there is an update for your Red Hat Linux system. Refer to the following URL for more information about the applet:

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire