RPM New Features

Oct 13, 2009

A few RPM developers from Red Hat and Novell met at the openSUSE Conference 2009 in September. The results of the meeting are now online.

The idea for an RPM community meeting of Novell and Red Hat developers came up at LinuxTag 2009, where openSUSE community manager Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier invited Red Hat developer Florian Festi to Nuremberg. Novell's Pavol Rusnak has now publicized a detailed report on the meeting. Included as RPM experts from Novell were SUSE developers Michael Schroeder, Klaus Kaempf and Stanislav Wisnovsky, and Red Hat developers Festi, Panu Matilainen, Seth Vidal and James Antill, among others.

One result from the meeting is introducing soft dependencies in the new official version of RPM. Soft dependencies are keywords that recommend further packets for installation. If and how Red Hat is to implement them in


is still being discussed, but they will definitely go into RPM.

Another result is file triggers, which should make package builds easier by removing scriptlets in spec files (such as

%post/%postun -p /sbin/ldconfig

). Mandriva already uses this feature, so the RPM team wants to extend it to RPM. In the same breath, the team agreed to introduce two new scriptlets,




, to help in clean package updates.

Not part of the official RPM code is DeltaRPM, which creates a binary delta of two PRM packages. The source code for this feature will remain in Gitorious for the time being.

RPM developers also wanted a new payload format, because the current CPIO format has a file size limit of 8 GBytes. CPIO is good for most packages, but presents problems for distributing appliance images as RPMs, for example.

Aside from these feature changes, the RPM team has a few more on their "top 10" list. The complete report is in Pavol Rusnak's blog.

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