Babar Haq

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Installing Yum On RHEL 3

I had a RHEL 3 WS at my work place. It irritated me terribly as the machine was never updated and hence having very old versions of softwares. Therefore I decided to upgrade my RHEL WS 3 using yum.

From my work place, internet is only accessible through http proxy, that too with authentication. I tried using up2date by creating an account at redhat's site but it didn’t work( I thought you could update one machine using your redhat account).

The first problem I encountered was that there is no public repository to update RHEL machines i.e you have to pay for it. After googling for a while I discovered that CentOS offers public repositories and they work with RHEL 3 as well.

I downloaded latest yum rpm, installed it and configured it to use centOS repo. Every time I ran yum, it failed. It couldn’t find repomd.xml file in the CentOS repositories I provided in yum.conf.

After struggling for some time, I discovered that I was accessing older version of repos through the latest yum. Therefore I had to use an older version of yum with RHEL 3, since old repos do not support xml based updating.

Now I have a fully updated system. Following is the brief summary of the steps I took

1) Since I was behind a proxy I had to export environment variable http_proxy.

2) Downloaded yum-2.0.8-1.noarch.rpm from

3) Installed it using
rpm –i yum-2.0.8-1.noarch.rpm

4) Configured my yum.conf to look like this:


#ame=Red Hat Linux $releasever - $basearch - Base
name=CentOS-$releasever - Base

name=Red Hat Linux $releasever - Updates

5) Downloaded the gpg key for CentOS rpm packages from

6) Imported the key like this:
rpm --import RPM-GPG-KEY-CentOS-3

7) Run “yum –y update”. Now Sit back and enjoy seeing your system being updated.



  • Thanks for this great article.. its saved me alot of time..

    By Anonymous kayrules, At 9:26 AM  

  • Absolutely fantastic article! Got my yum working instantly with these instructions! Keep up the good work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 5:38 PM  

  • This works nicely, but it doesn't really give you an up-to-date system. "make" is still a buggy version and requires a newer version of glibc to update it.

    By Anonymous Seb, At 11:48 PM  

  • Didnt work:

    [jyl@fjsoftllc yum]# yum -y update
    Gathering header information file(s) from server(s)
    Server: Red Hat Linux 3ES - i386 - Base
    retrygrab() failed for:
    Executing failover method
    failover: out of servers to try
    Error getting file
    [Errno 4] IOError: HTTP Error 404: Not Found

    Is there a fail-over server?

    By Blogger FJSOFT, At 2:45 AM  

  • Thanks man, you saved me a lot of time.

    By Anonymous Jibran Ilyas, At 2:51 AM  

  • Thanks so much. I thought I am stuck with this old RHEL3

    By Blogger Kuatrinnus, At 10:36 PM  

  • Works like a Charm , Great Work Man.

    By Anonymous Chaand, At 8:57 PM  

  • This worked for me. Thanks

    By Blogger ajit, At 1:22 PM  

  • [...]I got this tip from Babar Haq’s Blog with a little[...]

    By Anonymous PinoyTux Weblog, At 9:29 PM  

  • Thanks a lot. Getting updates for RHEL3 was a show stopper before. Thanks very much for the tip.

    By Blogger pluto, At 12:45 PM  

  • Nice one!

    Thanks very much - this helped me out a lot!

    By Anonymous joe donner, At 2:52 PM  

  • This article is the gift that keeps on giving.

    By Blogger Le Bolide, At 2:06 AM  

  • This is great and the set up worked flawlessly. One question - what does 'yum -y update' actually do? I am watching the updates go by and /var filling up and wonder if all these are actually updates of current libraries/applications. I say that partially because I tried 'yum search "enter package here"' and it seemed to do the same as 'yum -y update'. I would like to selectively search and install packages.

    By Blogger Christopher, At 12:27 PM  

  • Thanks. Very useful.
    Do you know if these updates are identical to those from rhn?

    Step #2 & #3 need adjustments:
    prompt> wget
    prompt> gunzip yum-2.0.tar.gz
    prompt> tar xvf yum-2.0.tar
    prompt> cd yum-2.0
    prompt> ./configure
    prompt> make
    prompt> make install

    continue w/ step 4.

    By Blogger AEC, At 3:49 AM  

  • Thank you so much :D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 4:07 PM  

  • Wicked article on converting from using RHN to YUM. Saved me a lot of time and effort and money re-registering our server with RH.


    By Blogger Colin Corrigan, At 9:14 AM  

  • Nice work - thanks. This info is surprisingly hard to find so I was happy to find it. The first phase has gone very well and although I have not yet dared to execute the last part all indications are that it will go well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:32 AM  

  • Thank you,
    the previous admin mucked the yum to overcustomized it ... now I able to recovere the OS back to the official RHEL3.

    By Blogger Victor, At 10:03 PM  

  • I cannot find a place to download yum. It appears that all links are obsolete. May someone provide any working links? Thanks, Sam Feb 24, 2010

    By Blogger Sam, At 4:34 AM  

  • Thanks, saved me lots of time. My Yum was broken and I needed php-mcrypt for a script I'm makin' ;)

    By Blogger D, At 5:20 PM  

  • ON RHEL 3 :
    Download yum-2.0.8-1 from

    Dated : May 16, 2010

    By Blogger Rai KD, At 4:50 AM  

  • The link is broken for your download of Yum. I posted and updated how to at

    Check it out

    By Blogger Brad Kelley, At 5:15 PM  

  • hi, good site very much appreciatted

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 8:33 PM  

  • learned a lot

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:45 PM  

  • Thanks a LOT for these steps, it helped me to do what 1000 searches on the internet didn't.

    By Blogger KK, At 10:21 AM  

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