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The next horizon: How Red Hat used yum to overcome RPM dependency hell


Download the video: [ogg]

A quick look at how and why yum replaced up2date as Red Hat Network’s package management system, as told by Bret McMillan, a supervising RHN engineer. It’s a quick study of how user need drives innovation and how community collaboration solves problems faster and more completely than individual work. The yum story shows how open source development communities form around problems like “RPM dependency hell” and solve them in ways that proprietary software engineers are hard-pressed to match.

14 responses to “The next horizon: How Red Hat used yum to overcome RPM dependency hell”

  1. Joe says:

    This is really good stuff. I’m using RHEL4 and I was hoping that yum would be the standard in the Enterprise versions. It makes like so much easier. Good presentation. Thanks

  2. W. Anderson says:

    Your presentations on YUM tool for updating and eliminating dependency issues give no credit to Yellow Dog Linux – creator of YUM, or at least mentions that the tool was developed by a (“community”)GNU/Linux company. One gets the impression that Red Hat did it all, which is false and misleading, and deceptive at best.

  3. Colby Hoke says:

    Thanks for your response on the video. It’s always good to hear from the community and our users about how they’re doing using our products. It’s this kind of information, good or bad, that speaks to us more than any survey could.

    Glad to hear that your life was made a little easier!

    W. Anderson,
    I really appreciate your criticism. Hopefully I can explain a little what we’re trying to say with this video.

    The focus wasn’t really meant to be a history of yum or up2date, for that matter. Rather, it was to show that there was something out there that the community was developing and participating in that was superior to what we were using ourselves. So, we integrated it (yum) into up2date and it became the dep-solver that runs behind everything on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    We do mention at about 3:12 in the video that it was the community participation in yum that made it the obvious choice for us to adopt. It’s how Red Hat used yum, not how Red Hat developed yum.

    We’re always extremely excited about anything going on in the Linux community – made by whatever parties are out there. It is a community, no matter who creates what – that’s the beauty of it all. It becomes everyone’s tool.

    This is simply a presentation on how we’re implementing what the community has given everyone.

    Thanks again… hope this helps explain things. But, I think it’s important for those who visit this page later to see a little more about yum than what we explained, so thank you for your comment.

    Cheers to you both!

  4. jef says:

    “One gets the impression that Red Hat did it all, which is false and misleading, and deceptive at best.”

    BS. The video clearly says it was from the community and btw, the main developer for yum works for Red Hat now.

  5. Ty Miles says:

    Remember YUM stands for “Yellow dog Updater, Modified” It’s not the actual original YUP that Yellow Dog first created.

    Plus YD is based on Red Hat (Fedora at this point) anyway.

  6. Chris Reyes says:

    I think its great what your developers are doing, just one question though, will RH ever develop anything that can do what .deb’s and synaptic do? I use Ubuntu on my laptop, and .deb’s and synaptic make everything so easy, if anyone knows of a package manager or program like synaptic for Fedora or RHEL please let me know! Keep up the good work guys!


  7. Allen Dulles says:

    Redhat EL5 is the worst ever, and the public relations department cannot change the facts. I am actually downgrading from EL5 to EL4 right now, because all my apps have been broken by EL5.

    I have lost many hours of development time, messing with the “upgraded” EL5. I am a senior computer science student and business owner with no time for Redhat anymore.

    Fact is, Redhat has not solved its RPM “dependency hell” with yum (all I get is “Error resolving dependencies”). And just what kind of an OS designer made Linux this bad?

    Redhat just lost another loyal customer (since RH8). I will never renew my subscription again.

    Allen Dulles

  8. Terrell Prude' Jr. says:

    Gee Allen, you really seem upset! You sound like I used to back when I was running MS Windows! :-)

    I will say this about Red Hat. The folks there can be kinda arrogant and “we’re superior to you” in their attitudes. No question. That’s not a good thing, and they should fix that, but MS employees do it, too, so they ain’t alone.

    That said….

    I’ve been using RHL since 5.x from 1998. Almost entirely because of me, my place of work (a Windows shop) now has some RHEL (it’s now “tolerated” instead of “ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN”). I’ve created my own “Homegrown F5 BigIP” load-balancer with CentOS, and it out-did F5′s own product. We run our network monitoring software on RHEL 4. Our authortative DNS servers run RHEL 3. I’ve never once had up2date fail on me for any reasons related to up2date (network card failed once, but that’s not up2date’s fault).

    Red Hat puts out a damned good product. It could use improvement, sure! Anything created by humans can. But I’m sure glad they’re around and doing what they do. My Debian Etch box has benefited directly as a result. :-)

    But my favorite GNU/Linux distro is K12LTSP EL, which is CentOS based (http://www.k12ltsp.org). *Every* school should be running this.


  9. Paul B. says:

    I have to admit my experience with RHEL5 yum has been bleak. I experience more yum errors and crashes than I receive package updates. I was let down by RH on this one and may try the latest SUSE and Ubuntu Server distributions even though we have a RHEL support license. RH should make patching up yum on RHEL5 its #1 priority.

  10. Steve L. says:

    Is there a publically avcailable site to use YUM and EL 5? I am using a beta copy for testing and it won’t let me update it without adding an account?

  11. Gregory Nice says:

    Yum has been an invaluable tool for me over the last 2 years. While it does have issues from time to time, it clearly makes deps much easier to deal with on a day to day basis.

    For the guy who lost countless hours of dev time, why you would not run a test-build on a another system is beyond me.

    If your system is that critical, why take a chance?

  12. Bryan J says:

    When is RedHat going to fix the yum-behind-a-proxy debacle?!

    I’m seeing a ton of people complain about it, but not even a hint of a fix from Redhat.

    I can’t believe people spend money on this when Ubuntu is free.

  13. khan says:

    new to linux.using rhel5 . could u pls explain me what is yum

  14. mike says:

    Regardless of it’s origin Yum has been a great improvemnt over Up2Date.