Chapter 13. Updating and Adding Packages to Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Linux consists of various software applications and utilities, known as RPM packages. A package is just a file that contains a software program.

This chapter explains three ways to update your system: using Red Hat Network, using the online Errata List, and using the Red Hat Linux Installation CD-ROMs.

Red Hat Network

Red Hat Network is an Internet solution for managing one or more Red Hat Linux systems. All Security Alerts, Bug Fix Alerts, and Enhancement Alerts (collective known as Errata Alerts) can be downloaded directly from Red Hat using the Red Hat Update Agent standalone application or through the RHN Web interface available at

Red Hat Network saves users time because they receive email when updated packages are released. Users do not have to search the Web for updated packages or security alerts. By default, Red Hat Network installs the packages as well. Users do not have to learn how to use RPM or worry about resolving software package dependencies; RHN does it all.

Each Red Hat Network account comes with:

To start using Red Hat Network, follow these three basic steps:

  1. Create a System Profile by running the Red Hat Network Registration Client (rhn_register) on the system that you want to register.

  2. Log in to RHN at and entitle the system to a service offering. Everyone receives a free Red Hat Network account for one system. Additional accounts must be purchased.

  3. Start scheduling updates through the RHN website, or download and install Errata Updates using the Red Hat Update Agent.

For more detailed instructions, read the Red Hat Network User Reference Guide available at