In this installment of our Linux package management basics tutorial, we will be covering searching for & obtaining descriptions about packages. This will teach you how to find a given package or application, if you don't know the package name. It will also teach you how to see a small description about what the package does or what it's intended to be used with.
* NOTE: All of the example commands below assume you are performing them as 'root' or some other authorized administrative user. You can also perform these commands through 'sudo', if you do not wish to login directly as 'root'. To do this via 'sudo', simple prepend the word 'sudo', followed by a space, before the given command.
Search for a package:
In many situations you may know something about a given package or application, but not it's actual package name. You can search the description, summary and name of available packages for a word/phrase related to it. To do so, use a command like this:
yum search 'FINDTHIS';
Where 'FINDTHIS' in the above command is simply the word or phrase that you are looking to match.
Find package by command name:
You can use the following to find the package related to a given system command.
yum whatprovides \*COMMAND;
Where 'COMMAND' is the name of the system command you are searching for.
Get description of a package:
Packages can have weird &/or cryptic names. Yum includes a way to get a short blurb about what the package is for or what it does. For example, use this command to get info on the package you want to know more about.
yum info PACKAGENAME;
Where 'PACKAGENAME' in the above command is simply the name of the package you noticed in your yum list results (enter it in the case it's shown).
In the next installment, we will cover how to install the new packages you found.
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