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Backstory: Recently, it was explained to me that to upgrade any package via terminal on a linux machine, I will need to use the distributions package management system to install or upgrade the package.

Since I use CentOS, which is a RHEL variant, the rpm command will need to be executed in terminal to accomplish this (I believe so). Therefore if I need to upgrade or install a package I will first use the wget command to download the package and then the rpm command to install it. The process is clear till here!

The actual question: However, to use the wget command to download the package, I will need a url that points to the package. How should I find this url?

My personal research has shown that there are sites like rpm.pbone.net (the only one I know off) to search for these packages. A search for 'firefox' (selecting search for rpms by name) as the keyword has given results for a whole lot of distributions. CentOS 5 is listed on page 3 but the latest version seems to be 3.6.18. Given that version 5.0.2 is available for Fedora (another RHEL variant), where is the latest version of firefox for CentOS? I am unsure which package should I download to upgrade firefox.

Plea: It'll be great if someone can point out how should I go about searching for packages to install on CentOS. Is there an official site for CentOS packages similar to rpm.pbone.net (which I believe is unofficial). I am currently, just for practice, searching for the mozilla firefox and vlc's latest releases.

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What's up with yum package manager? If it's CentOS, yum pretty much should be there. –  alex Jul 6 '11 at 6:30

2 Answers 2

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Since I use CentOS, which is a RHEL variant, the rpm command will need to be executed in terminal to accomplish this (I believe so)

While RPM is used to work with the actual packages, RHEL and friends now use yum to make it less tedious.

Yum lets you install software through repositories, local or remote collections of RPM packages and index files, and handles dependency resolution and the actual fetching & install of the files for you.

You can find the list of repositories configured on your machine by peeking in the /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory.

However, to use the wget command to download the package, I will need a url that points to the package. How should I find this url?

By finding the appropriate .rpm file and downloading it? Or perhaps I don't understand what your question is. Regardless, if you're grabbing RPM files from somewhere on the internet, they're probably going to also have a yum repo set up, in which case it would be far more prudent to actually install their repo package first.

Hilariously, you do this by downloading and installing an RPM file.

My personal research has shown that there are sites like rpm.pbone.net (the only one I know off) to search for these packages

While that site lets you search many known RPM packages, and you might find some handy bits and pieces there, I wouldn't try using it for things you care deeply about.

EPEL is a handy repository.

You can also take a peek at atrpms and RPMForge, though use them with caution. They are sometimes known to offer package replacements that may end up causing the worst sort of dependency hell ever experienced. It took me a few weeks to sort out a mess that someone made with clamav.

If you use either of those repositories, please consider setting their "enabled" flag to 0 in their config files in /etc/yum.repos.d/ and using the --enablerepo=... command line switch to yum.

Given that version 5.0.2 is available for Fedora (another RHEL variant), where is the latest version of firefox for CentOS?

There are two bad assumptions here.

First, you have the Fedora/RHEL relationship reversed. RHEL is generally based on Fedora, not the other way around. RHEL 5 is similar to Fedora 6. Any packages built for Fedora 6 have a high chance of operating on RHEL 5. However, Fedora is bleeding edge, and releases have a 12-month lifespan. Nobody is building packages for Fedora 6 any longer, it went end of life back in 2007ish.

Second, if you're trying to use CentOS 5 as a desktop OS in this day and age, you're insane. It's prehistoric. In fact, for a while modern Firefox versions wouldn't even run on CentOS 5 because of an outdated library. That's now resolved. Mozilla provides official (non-RPM) builds suitable for local installation and execution that you can use instead. Just head over to http://getfirefox.com/ for the download.

CentOS, being based on RHEL, inherits RHEL's packaging policy. RHEL never moves to newer non-bugfix versions of anything, as their goal is general stability. For example, CentOS 5 will be stuck with PHP 5.1, PostgreSQL 8.1, Perl 5.8 and Python 2.4 forever. RHEL sometimes provides newly named packages with newer versions, like python26 and php53 so that system administrators that expressly want new versions can kind of have access to them.

I am unsure which package should I download to upgrade firefox.

You almost certainly will not find such a package. If you want FF5 on CentOS 5, you should probably do a local installation of the official binaries from Mozilla.

I am currently, just for practice, searching for the mozilla firefox and vlc's latest releases.

atrpms currently seems to offer vlc. (I would not recommend simply grabbing the RPM from that page and installing it, but using yum to install it from the atrpms repo.) The official VLC RHEL download page recommends RPMForge instead, though they're shipping an older version there. Yes, that means that both of them offer vlc. Remember how I recommended setting enabled to 0? Yeah, this is why.

I want to take a moment to re-emphasize that you should not try using CentOS 5 as a desktop OS right now. Red Hat's update policies indicate that RHEL 5 will stop getting non-bugfix updates at the end of the year, and stop getting anything but security and critical bug fixes at the end of next year. It'd basically be like installing XP on a new machine.

RHEL 6 has been out for a while. The CentOS folks had to completely redo their build environment in order to accommodate it. Apparently the CentOS 6 images are being distributed to mirrors now, or so their QA calendar suggests. We'll see. Regardless, it would be a slightly better idea for a new installation today, if you expect the machine to have a long life in production.

On the other hand, if you're seriously looking at Linux on the desktop, consider a distribution that keeps itself up to date with modern software, like Fedora itself or even something Debian-based like Ubuntu. Ubuntu has a lot of mindshare in desktop installs, and it seems like apt repositories (apt is their yum-like tool) are far, far more easily found than yum repositories.

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If you are using CentOS, there should be no real reason not to keep up with the lastest (which has software of historic importance, not from the jurassic ;-) –  vonbrand Jan 23 '13 at 13:51
    
Even the latest 5.x release, 5.9, does not include a modern version of Firefox, which was the focus of the question. –  Charles Jan 23 '13 at 17:10

You can use http://pkgs.org/ to Linux Packages Search:
http://pkgs.org/package/firefox

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