I'm using RHEL 5 (64-bit) and have come across an inconsistency with rpm/yum. When I attempt to install a 32-bit RPM, I'm told the RPM is already installed when only the 64-bit version exists on the disk:

$ rpm -Uvh ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386.rpm
Preparing...                ########################### [100%]
        package libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386 is already installed

$ rpm -q libsysfs --qf '%{NAME}-%{VERSION}-%{RELEASE}.%{ARCH}\n

I have tried rebuilding the database, but I get the same error.

I have verified the RPM is not actually installed. When I run rpm -qp ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386.rpm I can confirm the files listed do not exist on the system.

What am I missing? It there something else RPM looks at to see if an RPM is already installed?

Edit 1

Not sure if this is something to do with the RPM itself or not. After running updatedb, erasing the RPM with rpm -e libsysfs, and attempting to install both simultaneously, I get an error that package was already added:

$ rpm -e libsysfs
$ rpm -Uvh ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386.rpm ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.x86_64.rpm
warning: package libsysfs = 2.1.0-1.el5 was already added, skipping libsysfs < 2.1.0-1.el5
Preparing...                ########################### [100%]
   1:libsysfs               ########################### [100%]

There are 19 other RPMs that are doing the same thing.

Edit 2

The 32-bit package still won't install. In trying to figure out what is happening, I was able to forcibly install the rpm rpm -Uvh --force libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386.rpm and it successfully installed. I can verify that the files listed inside the 32-bit and 64-bit RPM now both exist on the filesystem. However, rpm and yum now both think only the 32-bit version is on the disk:

$ rpm -q libsysfs --qf '%{NAME}-%{VERSION}-%{RELEASE}.%{ARCH}\n

I can successfully erase the 32-bit RPM, but the rpm command now no longer recognizes the 64-bit variant, even though all the files are in place:

$ rpm -e libsysfs.i386
$ rpm -q libsysfs --qf '%{NAME}-%{VERSION}-%{RELEASE}.%{ARCH}\n
package libsysfs is not installed
$ rpm -qpl ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.x86_64.rpm

$ ls /usr/lib64/libsysfs.so.2

Rebuilding the RPM database, the libsysfs RPM is still not found.

$ cd /var/lib/rpm
$ rm -f __db*
$ /usr/lib/rpm/rpmdb_verify Packages
$ mv Packages Packages.orig
$ /usr/lib/rpm/rpmdb_dump Packages.orig | /usr/lib/rpm/rpmdb_load Packages
$ /usr/lib/rpm/rpmdb_verify Packages
$ rpm -v --rebuilddb

I'm coming to the conclusion that there must be some sort of RPM database corruption, but have no idea where to go from here.

Edit 3

To try to get a better grasp on what is happening, I erased libsysfs and tried the yum localinstall option, but it still seems like the installer sees the 32-bit and 64-bit options as the same thing:

$ yum localinstall ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.x86_64.rpm ./libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386.rpm
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package libsysfs.i386 0:2.1.0-1.el5 set to be updated
---> Package libsysfs.x86_64 0:2.1.0-1.el5 set to be updated
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

Packages      Arch       Version         Repository                      Size 
 libsysfs     i386       2.1.0-1.el5     /libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.i386      140 k
 libsysfs     x86_64     2.1.0-1.el5     /libsysfs-2.1.0-1.el5.x86_64    141 k

Transaction Summary
Install      2 Package(s)
Upgrade      0 Package(s)

Total Size: 281 k
Running Transaction:
  Installing     : libsysfs                      1/1
Installed products updated.

  libsysfs.i386 0:2.1.0-1.el5           libsysfs.x86_64 0:2.1.0-1.el5


I notice that everywhere but where it actually does the installation, both architectures are mentioned, but the install still only does one.

  • run updatedb on your system, it will update a database for mlocate. then try to remove the installed package via rpm -e package-name. If it works then install the (64-bit) package.
    – AReddy
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 14:35
  • I tried updatedb, then erased the package, but was still only able to install the 64-bit variant. The 32-bit RPM still says it's installed falsely.
    – halvener
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 16:11
  • Have you downloaded the rpm and trying to install from your local system, What is host arch?
    – AReddy
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 16:25
  • I downloaded the RPM from mirror.centos.org. The system is an x86_64 system running CentOS 5.8.
    – halvener
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 16:32
  • try yum localinstall packagename
    – AReddy
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


It appears that not every 32-bit RPMs is created equal. The only RPMs that give this issue are ones that are directly downloaded from RHN. If I only used RPMs available from the rhel-5-server-rpms repo through yum, everything works. Downloading the 50 or so RPMs that were missing from rhn.redhat.com caused the issue.

In our setup, the downloaded RPMs were forced on the system via anaconda.


In trying to minimize the issue, it looks like uninstalling every 32-bit RPM, reinstalling the 64-bit/noarch RPMs, then installing the 32-bit RPMs does the trick.

yum erase '*.i386'
yum reinstall '*.x86_64' --exclude=filesystem
yum install '<rpm>.i386'

For some reason, this cleared things up for all but 8 of the RPMs I saw this on.


Try to check your arch support. You said you were on or wanted the x86_64 packages, but you have the i386 package.

An issue might be related to the arch support in "/etc/yum.conf" file. Try to change ->


To ->


Run this:

yum clean all

Then run update your package(s) and install/upgrade desired package.

Also check out this official link:

Yum cache info: https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/6/html/Deployment_Guide/sec-Working_with_Yum_Cache.html

Basic Yum resource: https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/7/html/System_Administrators_Guide/sec-Working_with_Packages.html

  • I am on an x86_64 system, but need the i386 variant for select 32-bit support. There are 197 i386 packages installed, but for some reason, the last 20 are complaining (incorrectly) that they are already installed.
    – halvener
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:54
  • did you check to make to see if you have "multilib_policy=all" in your config?
    – codelinx
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 19:39
  • I tried changing multilib_policy=all to multilib_policy=best, but still no luck. It seems like the system is looking at the x86_64 and i386 packages as one and the same.
    – halvener
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:41
  • what does your repo list/mirrors look like?
    – codelinx
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 9:31
  • This machine is not internet connected. I manually downloaded the RPMs from mirror.centos.org. I am having the same issue using either rpm or yum. The error seems to be a local rpm database issue, or something with how the RPM itself was packaged.
    – halvener
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 14:01

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