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LinuxConf Europe 2007
Conference and Tutorials
Sunday 2nd - Wednesday 5th September
University Arms Hotel, Cambridge, England

LinuxConf Europe 2007

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Jos Vos - X/OS Experts in Open Systems BV

TUTORIAL 5 FULL-DAY: Building and Maintaining RPM Packages


In this tutorial attendees will learn how to create, modify and use RPM packages. The RPM Package Management system (RPM) is used for package management on most Linux distributions. It can also be used for package management on other UNIX systems and for packaging non-free (binary) software.

The tutorial will focus on creating RPM packages for Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems, but the theory will also apply to package software for other distributions.


General software packaging theory will be provided as a start, followed by the history and basics of the RPM packaging system.

The headers and sections of an RPM spec file will be discussed. Hints and tricks will be given for each section to enhance the quality of the target package, including the use of macros, adapting software for installing it in an alternative root directory, ensuring correct file ownerships and attributes, the proper use of pre/post (un)installation and "trigger" scripts, and how to deal with package-specific users and init scripts.

Package dependencies and conflicts will be covered, as well as some ways too tweak the automatically generated dependencies, if needed.

Installing files in the proper place requires knowledge of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS), hence the basics of the FHS will be discussed.

The tutorial will also show how to properly package binary software, often done for internal system management purposes, and shed light on some of the issues involved, including some legal aspects related to packaging non-free software.

Package repositories and dependency resolution. Complementary to RPM, software exists for solving dependencies, such as up2date, yum, and apt-rpm. This software and the corresponding package repositories will be discussed.

Using RPM on non-Linux systems. Although primarly used on Linux systems, RPM can also be used to package software for other (free or commercial) UNIX-like systems. Some aspects of using RPM on non-RPM systems will be discussed.

Besides the theory, several issues will be illustrated with live demonstrations.

Target audience

The tutorial is targeted towards system administrators and software developers that want to create or modify RPM packages or get a detailed insight into the way RPM packages are built and can best be used. The attendees need no prior knowledge of RPM, although some basic knowledge of using software packages (as a system administrator using RPM, apt/dpkg, etc.) would be helpful.'

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