For historical reasons, one of the machines that I manage has a Redhat Enterprise 4 boot disk (among others). Every now and then, we have to boot into RHEL4 to bring up some of the legacy software that we support and connect to. Since it's a fringe system, the Redhat support has long since lapsed and I can't convince myself that it would be worth paying just to get RPMs that I can go and get for myself.

That said, the default RHEL tools are heavily biased against letting you do exactly that. I would like to install yum and use that as my package discovery and installation.

So, is there an installation guide to integrating yum with an older RHEL 4 system?

  • Are you saying that you want to use yum instead of RHEL 4's up2date to update the OS? If so, even if you have yum installed, you need access to a repository that provides RHEL 4 updates.
    – TCampbell
    Jun 15, 2009 at 17:47
  • @TCampbell, freiheit's answer below seems to be addressing your concern. I'm looking into that right now.
    – Bob Cross
    Jun 15, 2009 at 18:55

6 Answers 6


up2date has support for using yum repositories. Probably better to use that, than to install additional software you don't necessarily need.

Edit /etc/sysconfig/rhn/sources

Add a line like:

yum EPEL http://rhn.sonoma.edu/pub/mirrors/epel/4/$ARCH

That's a literal "yum", the repository name you'd like up2date to see it as, then the URL, which has some very limited support for variables, such as $ARCH.

You can also do apt and straight directories; there's examples in the file.

If you want to disable the RHN stuff, just comment out the "up2date default" line from the same file.


Not too long ago I moved a RHEL 4 system to CentOS for similar reasons. It was a pretty simple process and has worked very well so far. I used these instructions:



This repository is run by Redhat.


To install yum on RHEL4, use the instructions here. They describe obtaining all yum's dependencies from http://fr2.rpmfind.net/, and configures the system to use that as a yum repository. Check the individual packages for newer versions, but otherwise it worked just fine.


Just go on the internet and find a compatible yum rpm. Then do sudo rpm -ivh [RPM name]. That should do the basic installation. After that you have to find some repositories with the RPMS you want to be able to install. I strongly suggest DAG, although I don't know if they continue to maintain libraries for older OSes. Most repositories will have their own rpms for installing the necessary configs and keys, and if they don't they will have step by step instructions for getting set up.

  • 3
    Is that really common sense in RH world? "Just go on the internet", I'd bring up a bit of paranoia to just install Joe Randoms binary in my server without knowing what he or she did to it..
    – Martin M.
    Jun 15, 2009 at 17:41
  • In general, no, we can't wander the internet looking for an RPM. However, if there was a known-good RPM, I'm ultimately responsible for the machine. If it's The One, I'd be willing to give it a try.
    – Bob Cross
    Jun 15, 2009 at 17:46
  • Steve .... too funny. Oooh! Shiny RPM! Jun 15, 2009 at 17:50
  • Ok, so you can't just go to the internet in general, but there are number of sources for "good" RPMs. Certainly any RPM you got from a duke linked site should be OK. I admit I was lazy in my original post, I assumed that everyone knew that you should trust the source of any software you plan to install on a server. Jun 15, 2009 at 19:43

Look into RPMforge. You can get a yum from there.

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