Learn GNU/Linux Commands (8): Package Manager - apt, yum/dnf

Most GNU/Linux distributions build every program, every component into a package for users to install on their system. So package management is what makes a distribution different.

We introduce the modern package management tool "apt" for Debian/Ubuntu and "yum/dnf" for Fedora/CentOS/RHEL. These distros are the most popular and their package management tools can be used on distros derived from them.

Fortunately, for "apt" and "yum/dnf", most of their syntax is the same. So we introduce their commands together. The syntax of "yum" and "dnf" is the same, "dnf" is the future.


  • Package management tools should be run with administration privileges.
  • Package names may not be the same for different distros.

Update List of Available Packages


apt update

This command should be run before installing up-to-date packages or upgrading installed packages.


The list of available packages is automatically updated every time "yum/dnf" is called. "yum/dnf update" has the same effect as "yum/dnf upgrade".

For Fedora, the list is also scheduled to auto-update. To disable that, run the following commands.

[root@Fedora ~]# systemctl disable dnf-makecache.service
[root@Fedora ~]# systemctl disable dnf-makecache.timer

Search Package(s)

apt/yum/dnf search STRING

Search STRING in package descriptions.

apt/yum/dnf list STRING

Search STRING in package names.

Install Package(s)

apt/yum/dnf install PACKAGE...

Install the PACKAGE(S). For example, The following commands install Python 2, and header files and static libraries for Python 2 development.


[root@Debian ~]# apt install python python-dev


[root@Fedora ~]# dnf install python2 python2-devel

Upgrade Package(s)

apt/yum/dnf Upgrade [PACKAGE]...

Upgrade the PACKAGE(S). If PACKAGE is omitted, upgrade every package installed if a newer version is available.

Remove Package(s)

apt/yum/dnf remove PACKAGE...

Remove the PACKAGE(S).

apt/yum/dnf autoremove

Remove all unneeded packages that were originally installed as dependencies.




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