Originally Published: Tuesday, 9 October 2001 Author: Maninder Bali, CEO, Centurion Linux
Published to: enhance_articles_sysadmin/Sysadmin Page: 1/3 - [Printable]

Application Management on Linux: Installing, Upgrading and Uninstalling Software from your Linux box.

For many people a big challenge between installing and starting to get anything out of Linux is dealing with software downloads. There might seem like a bewildering array of options. Actually though, the process is fairly simple and logical, that shouldn't be surprising, since this is only a computer, after all. In this article Linux.com contributor Maninder Bali lays out the steps needed to manage your applications and downloads, in source and RPM binaries.

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Perhaps you have installed the entire GNU/Linux distribution on your machine and find that you still need some additional applications and software. Or maybe you need to upgrade some software or uninstall some, to be current with the latest releases. However, many new users have difficulty getting the latest software, upgrading it, or uninstalling old packages.

In this article, we are going to try and cover the popular and standard ways of installing, upgrading and uninstalling software from your Linux box.

Forms of Software

In Linux, software can either be obtained in its source form or in binary pre compiled form.

Newbie Linux users are often not comfortable with software distributed in its source form, though this happens to be the most popular method of software release in the Linux community. The latest release of all Linux software is in the source form. This source has to be compiled on your machine. The advantage here is that you can actually customize the software to your needs, depending on the architecture of your machine. This can, however, baffle newbies. But worry not, the aim of this article is to show you how easy it can be!

Apart from source code, you can get the software in its pre compiled binary form for the GNU/Linux distribution you use.

In the pre-RedHat days, all Linux software used to be distributed in its source form as a tarball (tar.gz packages). Red Hat released RPM (Redhat Package Manager) to ease the task of software management in Linux. The basic aim of RPM is to make sure all software dependencies are satisfied and then go on to install the software on the machine. The user does not have to bother to think beyond typing a few simple commands. RPM has become increasingly popular as the default package manager for most distributions around the world. Amongst the more popular ones are Red Hat, Mandrake, Caldera and SuSe.

Obtaining the Software

The easiest way to get the latest release of any software is to download it from the Internet. Almost all popular software packages have a home page on the net. You just have to go to the homepage of the project and download the latest release of the software. You can find a host of Linux projects on http://sourceforge.net and http://freshmeat.net. Another popular way of obtaining software is via CVS. We will cover obtaining software with CVS in our next article.

You can download the software in the popular .tar.gz form or .rpm depending on the GNU/Linux distribution you use.

Let's see how we can install each one of these forms of software on our Linux box.

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