Redhat Enterprise LinuxThe RPMforge.net project is an independent community-driven project to provide the infrastructure and tools to allow users, developers and packagers to meet and work together to provide and improve RPM packages.

The RPMforge.net project will eventually encompass the package offered by the Dag Wieërs RPM Repository. Although they offer packages for many distributions, they notably cover all Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions from 2.1 to 5.0, the latest release.

There are some notable advantages to using the repository:

  • A massive selection of packages, including the necessary pre-requisite pacakges.
  • They don't replace base libraries or important core packages for repositories that are not End-Of-Life.
  • Everything they do is open, so you can download the SPEC files, see what has changed, make your own modifcations, or rebuild it yourself.
  • Report your problems, and they will do their best to fix them as soon as possible.
  • They communicate with developers directly and try to have things fixed upstream.
  • A huge userbase that is testing and providing improvements and bug fixes.

To use the repository using 'yum' with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, simply run:
[email protected] tmp]# su -c "rpm -Uhv http://apt.sw.be/packages/rpmforge-release/rpmforge-release-0.3.6-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm" Retrieving http://apt.sw.be/packages/rpmforge-release/rpmforge-release-0.3.6-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm
Preparing... ########################################### [100%]
1:rpmforge-release ########################################### [100%]

You can change the "el5" to "el4" to use this with RHEL4, or change "i386" to "x86_64" to use 64-bit architecture.

Once installed, you should be able to use yum as normal, but you will have access to a much wider choice of RPM packages.

One of the drawbacks to RPMforge is that they do offer packages that overlap somewhat with the core Red Hat supplied packages. To only allow yum to install packages not provided by Red Hat, then you might want to take a look at the "protectbase" plugin for yum. I'll write that up separately, but in the meantime, Google is your friend!