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Re: Some thoughts about yum and repositories

> Make that one of the problems, or part of the problem. Some of us would
> rather run anything than MegaScat, and find linux (especially RedHat &
> Fedora) somewhat less unapproachable than other distributions -- but can't
> begin to follow such explanations as we commonly find, even if we're at
> least mildly interested. (Several of my friends and correspondents refuse
> even to try linux, despite their dissatisfaction with Windows, because
> they see indications of the time & effort I put into it.)

I agree with you, to a point.  When things go awry with Linux, I find
that I have a lot of work to fix it.  When things go awry with Windows,
I generally have no idea where the problem is, how to fix it, or where
to go to start diagnosing the problem.  My experience with Windows users
(family, friends and clients) is that when things go wrong they tend to
accept it.  "Oh, yes, "blarg" used to work, but it doesn't work
anymore."  I admire your perseverance with Linux.

> Even such as we do notice that running yum is easier than up2date (or,
> afaict, apt). But without being able to read (let alone write) code, we
> can at least use a yum.conf if we can copy or download it.

> > The beauty of yum is that it uses standard protocols so you can easily
> > look at the repos with your web browser and test to your hearts content
> > with something like wget.
> What are repos, and why do you look at them? What would you test??

I think this is the point of the postings:  A "repo" is short for
"repository", a public site which provides updated packages in a form
that yum can locate and download for you.  You probably figured that out
from the various postings.

The key to yum.conf is that the lines in the file must be precisely
correct.  You must specify the precise directories on the repository's
server where the updates will be found.  If you don't do this, things
won't work.

When you want to add a new repository to your yum.conf, you need to find
the repository and go visit it with your Web browser to find the
specific directory you need.  Then you have to cut and paste this into
your yum.conf file.  It's not difficult, but it's also not particularly
obvious, unless you have a HOWTO (and unless you have the background
knowledge to make use of the HOWTO).  

What do you test?  You can use a tool like wget to download packages
from the repository (without using yum) and you can test that the
packages are complete/correct/acceptable to you.  You are not limited to
accessing the repository only via yum so you can confirm for yourself
that the packages are what you want.  Compare this to Windows Update,
where you can only download what is presented to you, and you can only
access the updates after accepting various disclaimers, and you cannot
examine the packages prior to installing them.

The updated yum.conf files appeared as soon as yum appeared.  By default
yum.conf came delivered with pointers to Red Hat's servers, and they are
overwhelmed.  Modified files soon appeared with pointers to various
mirror sites, which themselves can become overwhelmed.  So if one of the
downloaded yum.conf files don't work well for you, you still need to
know how to find a new mirror site so you can use one that is not

Hope this helps.   Erik

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