Redhat RPM's offer a flexable and easy method to install new software. Software installed from an RPM package differs from compiling from source in a few ways, but the most important one of all is the software is already compiled for you. Essentially all you are doing is extracting the pre-built binaries and copying them to their pre-selected destination. RPM's are files that have a ".rpm" extenstion. The good point about RPM's is installation of new software, and maintaining the software currently installed is much easier than doing so for individual packages compiled from source. The downside to RPM's is that you dont have as much choice about where software is installed on your system, how it is compiled, and how it is configured.
Using the RPM system is fairly straight forward. To install a package, you can use the following command:
rpm -i <filename.rpm>
When using rpm, you must be logged in as the root user. The "-i" flag in the above command means "install".
Un installing a package is just as easy:
rpm -e <package>
The "-e" switch used here means "erase" (un install).
Note that <package> is different from <filename> used when installing.
For example, if you are installing an application called "mysoftware", you may use a command like "rpm -i mysoftware-1.0.2-i386.rpm" to install "mysoftware", when removing we dont follow the filename for installation, but rather the name of the software itself.
For further uses of RPM, please use "rpm --help" and "man rpm". Also see this page, which has some fairly useful information.
If you need to find & download the RPM file for a piece of software, I recommend using
RPM Find and RPM Pbone Search Note that not all applications are available as RPM's, in these cases you will need to
compile the software from