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I am in a maze of twisty little packages

So yesterday, I was contemplating how long it's been since I went to
the errata page at, and how much of a pain it is to find a
mirror that hasn't maxed out its anonymous FTP connections, download
the RPMs for packages that I use that have been updated, download the
other RPMs it depends on, ...

And then I remembered hearing about some program called "rpmfind" that
does all this automatically.

So, on my wife's workstation (which is running Red Hat 6.something), I
went to, downloaded rpmfind-1.4-3.rpm (the latest version
listed for Red Hat 6.2), and tried to install it.

And I got the error: "failed to open //var/lib/rpm/packages.rpm".

Then I tried 1.5-3, but it required a more recent version of the RPM
package itself.

Then I dug out my Red Hat 6.2 CD-ROM, found rpmfind-1.4-3.rpm on it,
and tried installing it -- this time, logged in as root, ahem.  It
complained about failed dependencies:,,, and

Then I went back to and downloaded version 1.2-1 (labeled
as being associated with "PowerTools-6.0 for i386"), and tried
installing it.  And it installed!

But every time I tried to *run* it, it caught signal 11 and exited.

Fine, I thought, I'll just install the bloody thing from source.
Following the instructions in the INSTALL file, I installed (from RPMs
on the aforementioned CD-ROM) bzip2, popt, and rpm.  Then I typed
"./configure" and "make".

And gcc thanked me for my efforts by saying:

./transport.c: 203: nanoftp.h: No such file or directory
./transport.c: 204: nanohttp.h: No such file or directory

So I gave up trying to put rpmfind on my wife's machine -- it's behind
the firewall and has no ports open to the rest of the Net, so I don't
have to be so paranoid about it (yeah, yeah, famous last words).

Checking out my own workstation (Red Hat 6.2), I discovered that I
*had* rpmfind (version 1.4) already installed on it.  "Aha," I say,
"I'll just tell rpmfind to upgrade itself, and then work on upgrading
all the other installed packages."  So, following instructions on the, I typed "rpmfind -q --upgrade rpmfind".

After downloading the database from, rpmfind determined
what other packages rpmfind depended on, and tried downloading the
first one (mktemp-1.5-8.i386.rpm).  First it tried to download it from ... and failed.  Then it tried
... and failed.  Then it tried again ... and after the
hundredth attempt, I stopped the program.

Is there something I can do to make rpmfind work as advertised without
too much additional effort?  Would it be easier to just switch to

"Rav would never cross a bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Maybe he
will be judged and I will be taken with him.'  Shmuel would only cross a
bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Satan cannot rule two nations [at
once].'  Rabbi Yannai would examine [the bridge] and cross."  --Shabbat 32a
== Seth Gordon == sethg at == == std. disclaimer ==
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