I posted some useful tidbits about yum on reddit semi-recently. The original post was in reply to somebody looking for yum understanding/help. I decided it would be worth copying over here, so I left a few tidbits out and modified it to be more useful here.
yum – Yellowdog Updater Modified
(Description copied from the man page) “DESCRIPTION yum is an interactive, rpm based, package manager. It can automatically perform system updates, including dependency analysis and obsolete processing based on “repository” metadata. It can also perform installation of new packages, removal of old packages and perform queries on the installed and/or available packages among many other commands/services (see below). yum is similar to other high level package managers like apt-get and smart.”
In Fedora (and many other Linux distros) there is a large source of programs, applications, etc. very similar to an “app store” (to simplify it). The package manager to handle those applications will vary between distros. We’re talking about Fedora, so, want to install a new program? It’s likely available with a quick command: yum.
Using yum requires root access for some actions, like installing new packages or removing (erasing) installed packages. In other actions (search, info, and other non-administrative actions) you can run it as a regular user.
yum search pidgin
Once you run that, it’ll search for packages available with the word “pidgin” in them.
Don’t see something you want or need? You can add third party repositories to your system to search for more programs. Of course you’ll want to be careful with that, but what fun is using Linux if you don’t break a few things?
If you want to get more comfortable with yum, try a few things out while you get comfortable.
yum list installed
^ This will show you what you’ve installed.
yum search searchterms
^ Replace searchterms with what you’re searching for. You can see what’s available to install.
yum info searchresults
^ Want to know what that package you just found does? Find out by putting the name in the place of searchresults.
yum install searchresults -or- su -c 'yum install searchresults'
^ When you found something in the search, you can install it by replacing searchresults. Here’s where su comes in. You need to be root here, so you can run ‘su’ and completely change over to root, or you can run ‘su -c’ followed by the command (like in the example above) and you’re telling it that you want to run this one single command as the root user.
yum remove searchresults -or- yum erase searchresults
^ That program didn’t suit your needs? That’s how you can remove it. (remove is an alias for erase). Needs root access.
^ Want to see if you have any updates ready for your system? That’ll do it. Needs root access.
Of course these are just some examples of what you can do with yum. Open up terminal and run ‘man yum’ (no quotes needed) and read more!
Note that Fedora does have a “Software Center” – an app that is designed to give you a visual frontend for installing/removing/searching for new packages. What you see in there is basically a visual front-end for yum. It’s running the commands for you while you’re clicking around.