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Yum vs. RPM: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 16, 2023
Yum is a package manager that fetches and installs RPM packages, while RPM is a package management system itself used for installing, uninstalling, and managing software.

Key Differences

Yum, short for Yellowdog Updater Modified, is a command-line package manager that simplifies the process of managing and maintaining software on certain Linux distributions. It's designed to fetch, install, update, and remove software packages from repositories, handling dependencies automatically. On the other side, RPM stands for RPM Package Manager (originally Red Hat Package Manager). It is a package management system which is used to install, uninstall, verify, query, and update software packages.
Yum uses repositories of grouped applications to manage software installations and handle their dependencies in an automated fashion. For instance, if a user wants to install a software package that depends on other software packages, yum will ensure that all dependencies are satisfied. However, RPM doesn't handle dependencies as automatically. While it will notify the user of missing dependencies, it doesn't fetch or install them on its own.
Another distinction between yum and RPM is their level of interaction with the user. Yum provides a higher-level interface, making it simpler and more intuitive for users, especially those unfamiliar with the intricacies of software dependencies. In contrast, RPM offers a lower-level approach, giving users more control but potentially more complexity.
In terms of functionality, while both yum and RPM can install or remove packages, yum can search for packages in its repositories, making it easier for users to find and install new software. RPM, however, works directly with individual package files and does not maintain a search functionality based on repositories.
Lastly, yum is often seen as a front-end tool for RPM, handling the complexities and providing users with an easier way to manage software on their systems, while RPM serves as the foundational system upon which yum operates.

Comparison Chart


Package manager for retrieving and installing software.
Package management system for software management.

Dependency Handling

Handles dependencies automatically.
Notifies of missing dependencies but doesn't fetch them.

User Interaction Level

Higher-level interface, more user-friendly.
Lower-level, offers more control but can be complex.

Search Functionality

Can search for packages in its repositories.
Does not maintain a search functionality based on repositories.


Front-end tool for RPM.
Foundational system upon which yum operates.

Yum and RPM Definitions


A package manager that handles software dependencies automatically.
Using yum, I installed the software, and it took care of all the dependencies.


Tool for installing, verifying, and removing software on Linux.
With rpm, I was able to verify the integrity of the installed software.


Interface to search, install, and update software from repositories.
I searched for the package using yum and installed it without any issues.


A system for managing software packages on Linux.
I used rpm to install the software package on my machine.


Command-line tool for managing software on Linux.
With yum, updating the system's software is straightforward.


Originally stood for Red Hat Package Manager.
The rpm system was initially developed for the Red Hat Linux distribution.


Tool that simplifies software management on specific Linux distributions.
On this Linux distribution, yum makes software management a breeze.


Allows users to query installed software details.
I ran an rpm command to check the details of the software version.


A front-end for the RPM package management system.
I prefer using yum as it simplifies the RPM package management process.


Does not handle software dependencies automatically.
While installing with rpm, I was notified of some missing dependencies.


Used to express appreciation of or eagerness for a tasty food or beverage.


Alternative case form of RPM


Used to express appreciation for something attractive or to express eagerness for a pleasurable experience.


Alternative case form of RPM


Rate of revolution of a motor;
The engine was doing 6000 revs


What does yum stand for?

Yum stands for Yellowdog Updater Modified.

Does yum handle software dependencies?

Yes, yum automatically handles software dependencies.

Is RPM exclusive to Red Hat-based systems?

Originally developed for Red Hat, rpm is now used in many Linux distributions.

Can rpm search for software in repositories?

No, rpm doesn't search repositories like yum does.

Which is more user-friendly, yum or rpm?

Yum offers a more user-friendly, higher-level interface than rpm.

Can I update my system using yum?

Yes, yum can be used to update all software on the system.

How does yum fetch software to be installed?

Yum fetches software from specified repositories containing rpm packages.

How do I list all available packages with yum?

Use the command yum list available.

What command would I use to install software with rpm?

The command is rpm -i packagename.rpm.

Does yum work with sources other than RPM packages?

No, yum specifically works with rpm packages and repositories.

Is rpm a package manager like yum?

RPM is a package management system, while yum is a package manager that utilizes rpm.

Can I verify the integrity of a package using rpm?

Yes, with the command rpm -V packagename.

How can I see all installed packages with yum?

Use the command yum list installed.

Is rpm specific to any Linux distribution?

While originally for Red Hat, rpm is now used in various distributions.

Is it easier to handle software dependencies with yum or rpm?

With yum, as it automatically handles software dependencies.

Can I use both yum and rpm on the same system?

Yes, in fact, yum often acts as a front-end for rpm.

How does rpm handle software dependencies?

RPM notifies users of missing dependencies but doesn't fetch them automatically.

How can I remove a package using rpm?

The command is rpm -e packagename.

Can rpm update all system software like yum?

No, rpm is used for individual packages, while yum can update all system software.

How do I search for a package using yum?

Use the command yum search packagename.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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