up2date command to update Redhat enterprise Linux (RHEL) howto

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Q. How do I use up2date command to update Redhat enterprise Linux server via RHN?


A. For Redhat enterprise Linux operating systems, you need to get updates from RHN via Redhat Network Satellite/proxy servers (usually used by big hosting/ISPs or larget RHEL installation setups) to install critical and non-critical security updates as well as binary packages.

Task: Register my system with RHN

To register your system with RHN type the following command and just follow on screen instructions:

# up2date --register

WARNING! These examples only works with RHEL version 2.x, 3.x and 4.x only. RHEL version 5.x comes with yum utility to update and install packages.

Task: Display list of updated software (security fix)

Type the following command at shell prompt:# up2date -l

Task: Patch up system by applying all updates

To download all update type the following command:# up2date -u

Task: Forcefully update or patching

Sometime you need to forcefully apply updates. By default RHN does not install new kernel, so you need to run updates using following command:# up2date -uf

Task: Install new software/rpm

Use up2date command to install new RPM from RHN:# up2date httpd

Task: Update installed software

To fix latest bugs or to apply a patch use up2date command as follows for php package:# up2date php

Task: Download source RPM files

Download source packages only but don’t install:# up2date -d --src Package-Name

Task: Display the list of available packages

# up2date --showall
# up2date --showall | grep httpd

Task: Install particular architecture package

If you are using 64 bit RHEL version it is possible to install 32 packages:# up2date --arch=i386 mysql

Above command will install mysql 32 bit version instead of 64 bit version.

Task: Display what package provides the file

You can easily find out what RPM package provides the file. For example find out what provides the /etc/passwd file:# up2date --whatprovides "/etc/passwd"Output:


It queries the RHN servers to resolve the comma separated list of dependencies. It will return a list of packages that will satisfy these dependencies.

Task: Display list of group software

Option –show-groups displays all the component groups that are installable via up2date command. This is good to install entire set of software such as development environment.
# up2date --show-groupsOutput:

Administration Tools
Arabic Support
Assamese Support
Authoring and Publishing
GNOME Desktop Environment
GNOME Software Development
Games and Entertainment
Windows File Server
Workstation Common
X Software Development
X Window System

To install group X Software Development just type the command:
# up2date -i "@ X Software Development "

Read man page of up2date command for more information:
man up2date


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

14 comment

  1. Can you tell me how can one achieve the below:

    Upgrade RHEL4 u4 to RHEL4 u8 using the packages which were downloaded using the up2date -d command.So,assuming I have downloaded all the available updates from U4 to U8 into a directory called /var/spool/packages ,how do I use those packages to perform the upgrade in a simple way?

    To my understanding,one has to install every package manually and there would be a dependancy hell doing that.Because,one is supposed to know what package precedes what or what is dependant on what.So,I really dont understand what is the use of the -d option that case.I am not talking about setting repositories here.

    1. You can give the following command:

      rpm -ivh /var/spool/packages/*

      This will automatically take care of the sequence of package installation.

  2. hi,
    am try to register my rhel linux 6.4 server using subscription-manager cmd
    the system is registered but it shows the status as not subscribed and i not getting any updates from rhn can any one please suggest me on this

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