Difference Between Yum and RPM (with Table)

A package manager is computer software that deals with packages, installs, updates and upgrades necessary packages while archiving the rest. So what do Yum and RPM have to do with this?

Yum and RPM are both package managers for Linux systems. They are used based on the Linux distribution being used and on your individual needs. But many find it hard to differentiate between the two

Yum vs RPM

The difference between Yum and RPM is that while Yum can only install the packages available in its repository, RPM can install multiple packages with the right file name and .rpm extension. Even though they are both packaging managers and their main function is to install, update and upgrade packages, these two still function differently.

Yum stands for Yellowdog Updater Modified. They are packaging managers for RPM-based Linux systems. They are a high-level front end management package managers for Linux distributions that are RPM-based.

RPM stands for Redhat Packaging Manager. It can be considered one of the oldest packaging managers that do basic functions like uninstalling, updating, archiving the packages received by the Linux systems.

Comparison Table Between Yum and RPM

Parameters of ComparisonYumRPM
DefinitionIt is a top-level and front end packet management that can do everything individually.It is a low-level packet manager that does the most basic things.
OriginWas updated from YUP to Yum in 2003.The origin dates back to 1997.
DependencyIt resolves and installs dependencies automatically.Does not resolve dependencies.
Installing of packageYou can only install packages available in the repository and shows the packages already installed.It allows you to install multiple packages but you will have to provide the exact file name.
UpgradingAutomatic upgrades are done to the latest version.Does not allow upgradation.
ManagementIt is a tool that can be used to manage RPM with ease.It is difficult to manage when it comes to installing/ upgrading packages

What is Yum?

Yum, that stands for Yellowdog Upgrader Modified is the modified or updated version of YUP or Yellowdog UPgrader and came in 2003. It is dependent on RPM.

It mainly functions on RPM-based Linux systems and is dependent on RPM for performing its function but is also used for the management, installation and up-gradation of the packages in RPM-based Linux systems.

Yum can perform all the functions by being dependent on RPM. It can sense and resolve dependencies. Although it cannot install multiple packages like RPM, it can install the packages that are already available in the repository.

Yum can also scan and upgrade the packages to the latest versions. It also entirely relies on online repositories.

What is RPM?

RPM stands for Redhat Packaging Manager and was developed in 1997. It is a modified version of the package managers with the .pm extension that came in 1993. With a few added benefits and functions it became one of the strongest and the oldest package managers for Linux systems.

It is a free open source package management system that works on Linux distribution systems and performs basic functions of installing, uninstalling, scanning, upgrading, updating etc.

RPM-based Linux systems need Yum for their management as it cannot sense and resolve dependencies on its own. But it can install multiple packages, unlike Yum, with the condition that we give the correct file name with the .rpm extension. This would make it easier for the package manager to locate the file.

RPM does not depend on online repositories for any of its services and it cannot scan or upgrade itself or its packages to the latest versions. It can only display the currently available version.

Main Difference between YUM and RPM

  1. Yum and RPM even though are Linux system packaging managers, they are still different even in their meaning. While Yum is a top-level front end packaging manager that operates on RPM-based Linux systems, RPM is a low-level packaging manager that performs basic functions.
  2. YUP or Yellowdog UPgrader was first made and completely developed between 1999-2000. The updated version of YUP is known as Yum and this was redeveloped or modified in 2003. Whereas RPM or Redhat was developed in 1997.
  3. Yum can scan, sense and resolve dependencies automatically whereas RPM is unable to do so. It does not resolve the dependencies.
  4. RPM allows you to install multiple packages, the only necessary condition being we have to give the right file name with the ‘.rpm’ extension. But in the case of Yum, it only installs the packages that are already available in their repository and shows the other packages that are already installed.
  5. Even though one of the functions of the packaging manager is installing and upgrading packages of the Linux system, RPM does not allow upgradation of existing packages whereas Yum helps you scan the packages and notifies as well as upgrades them to their latest version.
  6. In terms of management of these packaging managers, Yum is also the software used for managing RPM whereas RPM is difficult to handle in cases of installing and upgrading.


Packaging manager is the software used for managing, installing, updating, upgrading etc. of the packages of a system. Linux based systems or Linux systems have a lot of such packaging managers in which two are: Yum and RPM.

RPM or Redhat Packaging Manager, introduced in 1997, is one of the oldest packet managers of Linux based systems. Its primary functions include installing multiple packages. It is a powerful package management system for installing, uninstalling, checking and upgrading of the packages received by Linux systems.

Yum or Yellowdog Upgrader Modifies, developed in 2003, is the package management system used for RPM-based Linux systems. They also install packages but not in the same way as RPM. They mainly also help with the management of RPM.

The fact that marks the difference between Yum and RPM is the fact that Yum can check and upgrade the packages whereas RPM cannot do so. Yum can also resolve dependencies on their own whereas this is not possible for RPM.


  1. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4302-6563-4_4