Jump to: navigation, search

Package Manager

Yum is Yellowdog Updater, Modified, a tool for managing Red Hat rpm packages.

To install a particular RPM on the XO, in a terminal enter

sudo yum install package name

package name refers to the specific name of the software to be installed. For example, installing a common web server, the package name might be apache

For more on yum, on the XO, enter

yum -h

On other Linux systems that have "man", enter

man yum

or on many Linux system that use "yum" and "info", but only if you are familiar with "info" or "emacs", enter

info yum


Note: To save space, OLPC OS images are configured to not extract documentation from rpm packages to the file system. If there is a specific package for which you might want this overturned, edit the file:


and change the line:

%_excludedocs 1


%_excludedocs 0

before installing it. Remember to switch it back after you are done.

Making persistent changes

By default, any packages you install with yum will be removed during the next update, since our update mechanism always aims to provide a clean system install.

If you want to install packages that will persist across updates, first obtain a developer key. Then, as root:

# yum install yum-utils

Then, as the olpc user:

$ mkdir -p /home/olpc/.custom/rpms
$ cd /home/olpc/.custom/rpms
$ sudo yumdownloader --resolve <pkgname>
$ sudo rpm -Uvh *.rpm

This will download the RPM files needed to install <pkgname> into the ~olpc/.custom/rpms directory. When you upgrade to a new build, on first boot the olpc-configure program will check your developer key and then install all the RPMs found in that directory.

This is handy in order to ensure (for example) that emacs is always installed on your builds.

If you use this feature a lot, you may find it more convenient to create subdirectories under ~olpc/.custom/rpms for each major program you install, so that you can more easily keep track of which rpms go which what program. The first boot installation will look through all of the subdirectories of ~olpc/.custom/rpms to find RPMs it should install.

(Note also that if you wish to make regular additions to the .custom/rpms directory that you'll probably want to put the yum-utils rpm itself into that directory, so that yumdownloader is always available.)

See <trac>6432</trac> for more discussion of this feature. This code was written for the 8.2 release and first appeared in joyride-2106. It is not present in 650 (7.1), 653 (7.1.1), 656 (7.1.2), 703 (8.1), 708 (8.1.1), 711 (8.1.2) or 714 (8.1.3).



On OLPC OS, /var/tmp is a temporary filesystem (tmpfs) with a limited size. This may restrict the use of yum, especially for operations such as whatprovides. The workarounds are either:

  • remove /var/tmp from /etc/fstab and reboot; this reconfigures the system to use slower internal storage for temporary files, or;
  • increase the size of the tmpfs,
mount -o remount -o size=128M /var/tmp

Memory Limitations

On the XO-1, yum is slow and may require more memory than is available, depending on the transaction. This can cause Yum to fail. Solutions are to use the OSBuilder, add Swap, or stop the display manager:

service olpc-dm stop

External References