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Is generally installing standalone rpms considered 'dangerous'? Are these affected by any system upgrades, package upgrades etc.? How about dependencies and libraries?

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Its is not normally a good idea to install stand alone rpms, only because it is difficult to keep track of all the dependencies. YUM does a pretty good job of handling that for you. It is possible to install single rpms using YUM by issuing the following command

#yum localinstall <packagename.rpm> --nogpgcheck 

If at all possible avoid installing rpms individually.

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Worse case scenario with a broken package? What sort of damage can a Standalone do to a system? Will it install any libraries by itself in order to get installed? – tux_drummer Nov 7 '12 at 15:49
You could easily make your system unbootable if the standalone package breaks existing system software, or somehow interfers with the OS. Plus, RPMs aren't just a collection of files, they contain scripts that run automatically during the installation (or removal) of the package, and it is easy for someone to make a mistake when building the package and accidentally cause serious concequences. – jsbillings Nov 7 '12 at 17:50
@jsbillings should this not cause at least a conflict-warning - especially when using yum? – Nils Nov 7 '12 at 21:14
Worst case scenario if needing to use an RPM package from an untrusted source you can also unpack it using rpm2cpio. EX: rpm2cpio yourrpm.rpm | cpio -idmv – Mike Keller Nov 8 '12 at 4:21

Installing standalone RPMs isn't dangerous at all, and in fact, sometimes you can't install them with YUM because they aren't in any repos. The reason RPMS are a good thing (like any package where you use a package manager to control) is because the RPMs themselves contain a spec that describes everything about the RPM to the system. This includes dependencies, which programs are controlled, etc.

Both YUM and RPM use the same databases, so using YUM localinstall is ultimately the same as just running rpm -ivh packagename.rpm

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It's advisable to use yum to install packages that aren't in repos. Just run 'yum install /path/to/package.rpm' and not only will it install the package, it'll also pick up any requirements in the package, and if they're in the existing yum repos, install them along with the local package. – jsbillings Nov 7 '12 at 17:46

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