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I would like to be able to install one package that tracks the version of the system. If this package is installed I would like to be able to guarantee that the system is at the appropriate update level. For example if my_rpm-1.0 is installed the system is at rhel 6.2. if my_rpm-2.0 is installed the system is at rhel 6.3. I think this requires me to list all the rhel packages on the Requires: line. This surpasses the 8k per line limit that spec files have.

  • Is there a way around this limit?
  • Is there an easy way to see what the top level packages are so I wouldn't have to include all of them?
  • Am I just going about this the wrong way?
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It's not the way to go. rpm packaging system provides the package redhat-release, that tracks this stuff for you. If you're using yum, and your repository is the 6.X branch upstream, then you don't need to bother and just go for yum update. When you need to know what version you are, just rpm -qa redhat-release. –  Marcel Apr 3 '13 at 14:45
    
unfortunately redhat-release only requires a few packages. It only shows the correct system version if you assume the system was upgraded correctly. I need a mechanism to guarantee all the system packages were upgraded. –  johnjamesmiller Apr 4 '13 at 19:56
    
Why don't you use a configuration management tool such as Puppet, Chef, or Salt? –  Forrest Apr 15 '13 at 16:23
    
I currently use spacewalk. it has a nice "profile" feature so I can make sure one system has all of the required rpms. However I can not apply this profile to multiple systems. I am managing thousands of machines so doing it one by one is not feasible. Do the other tools handle large sets of systems better? –  johnjamesmiller Apr 17 '13 at 22:07
    
Each machine has a unique configuration? If that's the case a configuration management tool might be a bit difficult to use, but in the long run it would be worth it if you have groups of machines. –  Forrest Apr 23 '13 at 2:07
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