Thursday, August 23, 2012

RHEL / CentOS repository setup for Debian / Ubuntu weenies

So chances are, you might be someone familiar with a Debian-based system (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.) with access to a huge repository of prepackaged software that you're adept at navigating via aptitude or apt-get.

And then you get a job in the commercial sector somewhere, and you have to work with enterprise Redhat-based systems (RHEL, CentOS, Scientific Linux, etc.) and a lot of the tools and utilities you're accustomed to just aren't readily available.

Here's a list of yum repositories you probably would like to add to your configuration, so you can have the cornucopia you're accustomed to!

"Inline with Upstream Stable" repository. Mostly LAMP stack servers and language environments, many that are already included with the base RHEL/CentOS distribution, but this repository allows you to run with more recent versions if you need the features or security updates. The packages are designed to peacefully coexist with the older versions provided by your core distribution.
"Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux" repository. Lots of development tools missing from the base distribution. I usually install this for "gkrellm" and "compiz-fusion" alone.
"RPMFusion" repository is a merger of a few other repositories that provided packages of patent-encumbered software, mostly multimedia codecs such as ffmpeg and libdvdcss and the like.
"RepoForge" is the new "RPMForge" (it still uses the old name in the config files). This is a merge of a lot of the other big repos, such as Dag Wieer's Apt Repository (DAR) that should pretty much cover lots of other software, such as mplayer, netpipe, and most other things a bit too obscure for base + EPEL.

On the downside, not everything is as well tested with each RHEL/CentOS release, so you can occasionally run into broken packages and dependencies. But if it works, that's less time you need to spend getting some utility you're already accustomed to having and more time to spend compiling or developing utilities you need.

All of the above have some sort of table where you can choose your version (RHEL/CentOS 6 / 5 / 4 etc.) and architecture (x86 or x86_64) and download a repository installer rpm that sets up everything in /etc/yum.repos.d/ for you.

Then just run something like "yum list > yumlist.txt" occasionally and browse through yumlist.txt to find the exact name of the thing you want in the list of all the software installed and available. You could also try using the "gpk-application" GUI (also accessed through the "System | Administration | Add / Remove Software" menu). Not as powerful or useful as browsing/exploring through aptitude, but if you're using RHEL/CentOS you're probably already expected to know the name of the tool you want.

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