Managing Linux packages with RPM

I just finished two grueling days getting a Red Hat Linux box caught up on kernel upgrades and security updates. Some of the PHP error messages showing up in the logs looked like attempts to exploit a new vulnerability, so I wanted to batten down the server.

To free up space, I used Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) and reviewed all of the packages installed on the server, looking for ones I don't need such as Gnome and X11 windowing packages and non-English support.

A few observations:

  • I can't believe there's so much cool open source software in a Linux installation.
  • RPM needs a way to group related packages together for one-step installation or removal. Deleting all Gnome software, which are useless on a server maintained remotely, was drudgery.
  • I'd love to find an RPM-style installation manager for Java libraries packaged as JAR archive files.

Comments

Check out http://jpackage.org/

Looks interesting. Do you know if it tracks Java class library dependencies?

I believe Mandrake has the install and remove feature you're looking for. You can browse packages and updates by caregories, and I *think* you can install them in groups as well. Even if you can, you can at least view things a lot easier. The newest version of Mandrake just hit the ftp servers, too (9.2).

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