The package manager.

DNF is the next upcoming major version of YUM, a package manager for RPM-based Linux distributions. It roughly maintains CLI compatibility with YUM and defines a strict API for extensions and plugins.


  • Use dnf to install packages from official and non-official repositories.

  • Repositories are sources to download software from.

  • Modules in dnf are package groups representing an application, language runtime or set of tools. - e.g. node, nginx, maven, mariadb, ruby, perl.

    • Each module can be released in a number of streams. A stream is a “virtual repository”.
    • Only one stream of a particular module can be active at a given time. 1
  • Groups are virtual collections of packages, e.g.:

    • @c-development - group containing C Development stuff including gcc-c++.


Some things about dnf:

Update all packages

sudo dnf update

Searching for packages

Searching with yum

Search for a package:

yum [-v] search <package>

Add -v to enable verbose output, which will show the repository that provides each package.

Show all available versions of a package

Show all possible versions of a package (including duplicates):

$ dnf list --showduplicates google-cloud-cli-gke-gcloud-auth-plugin
Last metadata expiration check: 0:20:54 ago on Wed 21 Sep 2022 10:55:57 BST.
Available Packages
google-cloud-cli-gke-gcloud-auth-plugin.x86_64                             371.0.0-1                              google-cloud-cli
google-cloud-cli-gke-gcloud-auth-plugin.x86_64                             372.0.0-1                              google-cloud-cli
google-cloud-cli-gke-gcloud-auth-plugin.x86_64                             373.0.0-1                              google-cloud-cli

Search but exclude a specific repository

yum search <package> --disablerepo=ius

Adding/removing packages

Install a package

$ dnf install <spec> # Where spec can be a package-spec, @module-spec or @group-spec

Install a package only from one repository

If a package exists in more than one repository, but you only want to install it from a specific repository. For example, you might want to install only from the “fedora” repository, and not from any others:

$ dnf install kubernetes-client --repo fedora

Remove a package

$ dnf remove packagename

List all installed packages

List all of the software you’ve got installed through dnf:

$ dnf list --installed
$ dnf list --installed mypackage

Remove a package using rpm

$ rpm -e packagename

Install something from an RPM file

$ dnf localinstall myrpmfile.rpm

Remove a package, but don’t remove “unused dependencies”

$ dnf remove packagename --noautoremove

Or set clean_requirements_on_remove=false in /etc/dnf/dnf.conf. If still having issues, check if the dependent packages really do have a transitive dependency on the package you’re trying to remove, e.g. trying to remove docker and it also wants to remove container-selinux:

$ dnf repoquery --requires docker | grep container-selinux
container-selinux >= 2:2.2-2

Managing repositories

For configuration file format see man 5 dnf.conf

List all repositories

This lists all the repositories you’ve configured to search and install packages from:

$ dnf repolist

List all repo config files

Repository config files are usually located in /etc/yum.repos.d/:

ls /etc/yum.repos.d  fedora-updates-modular.repo          home:manuelschneid3r.repo             rpmfusion-nonfree.repo
_copr_phracek-PyCharm.repo                                fedora-updates.repo                  nextdns.repo                          rpmfusion-nonfree-steam.repo
docker-ce.repo                                            fedora-updates-testing-modular.repo  rhel7-csb-stage.repo                  rpmfusion-nonfree-updates.repo
fedora-cisco-openh264.repo                                fedora-updates-testing.repo          rpmfusion-free.repo                   rpmfusion-nonfree-updates-testing.repo
fedora-cisco-openh264.repo.rpmnew                         fedora-updates-testing.repo.rpmnew   rpmfusion-free-updates.repo           screen.repo
fedora-modular.repo                                       google-chrome.repo                   rpmfusion-free-updates-testing.repo   teams.repo
fedora.repo                                               google-chrome.repo.rpmnew            rpmfusion-nonfree-nvidia-driver.repo  vscode.repo

Add a repository

$ dnf config-manager \
    --add-repo \

Disable a repository

$ dnf config-manager --set-disabled my-repo-id

Finding and inspecting packages

Which packages provide a given command?

$ dnf provides /usr/bin/kubectl
$ yum provides "*bin/top"

Which files are included in a package?

$ dnf repoquery -l texlive-cancel

Which packages does package X depend on?

dnf repoquery rubygem-eventmachine --requires --resolve

Look inside an RPM file, if it’s not installed

rpm -qlp <my-rpm.rpm>

Which group contains a specific package? with yum

yum groupinfo '*' | less +/sendmail-cf

Which package created file ‘/foo/bar.jpeg’?

Which package created/installed a particular file?

$ rpm -qf /usr/bin/mvn

Which packages require dependency ‘foo’?

Can I safely delete package ‘foo’?

$ dnf repoquery --installed --whatrequires ldacbt

$ rpm --test -e ldacbt
# runs a test 'erase' command...should exit 0 if no dependencies

What are the contents of a local .rpm file?

$ rpm -qlp ~/Downloads/Insomnia.Core-2020.4.1.rpm


Get the current Fedora version with rpm

$ rpm -E %fedora

Which repository did you install a package from?

yum info <package>

What was installed recently?

Check history:

$ dnf history | grep ...

When was a particular package installed?

$ dnf repoquery --installed --qf '%{reason} %{installtime} %{name}-%{evr}.%{arch}' nano-default-editor
unknown 2020-12-02 18:26 nano-default-editor-5.3-4.fc33.noarch


List all modules available

$ dnf module list

List the modules that are enabled

NB: ‘enabled’ is not the same as ‘installed’! An enabled module is one that is available to be installed, but it may not be installed yet. Only one module stream can be enabled at a time.

$ dnf module list --enabled
Fedora Modular 30 - x86_64
Name   Stream       Profiles           Summary                                                 
ant    1.10 [d][e]  default [d]        Java build tool                                         
gimp   2.10 [d][e]  default [d], devel GIMP                                                    
maven  3.5 [d][e]   default [d]        Java project management and project comprehension tool  
scala  2.10 [d][e]  default [d]        A hybrid functional/object-oriented language for the JVM

Fedora Modular 30 - x86_64 - Updates
Name   Stream       Profiles           Summary                                                 
ant    1.10 [d][e]  default [d]        Java build tool                                         
gimp   2.10 [d][e]  default [d], devel GIMP                                                    
maven  3.5 [d][e]   default [d]        Java project management and project comprehension tool  

Hint: [d]efault, [e]nabled, [x]disabled, [i]nstalled

Disable a module if it’s causing problems

Disable the gimp module:

$ dnf module disable gimp

Switch a module to a different version

For example, CentOS Stream enables the nodejs:10 module by default. If you want to switch to nodejs:18, you can do so with:

dnf module reset nodejs

dnf module install nodejs:18/common


List all groups

$ dnf group list --ids
Available Environment Groups:
   Fedora Custom Operating System (custom-environment)
   Minimal Install (minimal-environment)
   Fedora Server Edition (server-product-environment)
   Fedora Workstation (workstation-product-environment)
   Fedora Cloud Server (cloud-server-environment)
   KDE Plasma Workspaces (kde-desktop-environment)

List all installed groups

$ dnf group list --installed

Install a group

$ dnf group install <group-spec>

List packages in a group

$ dnf group info <group-spec>

Find which groups contain a package (e.g. gcc-c++)

$ dnf group info '*' | less +/gcc-c++

Non-Fedora repositories

rpmfusion: a place for packages which can’t be distributed in the main Fedora repos, for example:

  • Open Broadcaster Software
  • VLC media player
sudo dnf install$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

unitedrpms: multimedia codecs and addons not available in official Fedora repositories.

sudo rpm --import
sudo dnf -y install$(rpm -E %fedora)-15.fc$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

Installing things manually

It seems to be common practice to install things in /opt.

For example, to install an early GraalVM build and add a relative symlink in /opt/java/graalvm:

sudo mkdir -p /opt/java
sudo chown -R tdonohue:tdonohue /opt/java
tar -C /opt/java -xvf graalvm-ce-1.0.0-rc15-linux-amd64.tar.gz
ln -r -s graalvm-ce-1.0.0-rc15 /opt/java/graalvm


‘rpmdb open failed’ when trying to run ‘yum update’

error: rpmdb: BDB0113 Thread/process 11763/140134931961664 failed: BDB1507 Thread died in Berkeley DB library
error: db5 error(-30973) from dbenv->failchk: BDB0087 DB_RUNRECOVERY: Fatal error, run database recovery
error: cannot open Packages index using db5 -  (-30973)
error: cannot open Packages database in /var/lib/rpm
Plugins failed to initialize with the following error message:
Error: rpmdb open failed
  • This error seems to happen randomly. The yum package database is corrupt?
  • Move the corrupt database and get the server to rebuild it: mv /var/lib/rpm/__db* /tmp && rpm --rebuilddb && yum upgrade

“package foo from repo conflicts with foo2 provided by repo2 from reponame”

Run sudo dnf install <package> --allowerasing