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Different Places an rpmrc File Resides

RPM looks for rpmrc files in four places:

  1. In /usr/lib/, for a file called rpmrc.

  2. In /etc/, for a file called rpmrc.

  3. In a file called .rpmrc in the user's login directory.

  4. In a file specified by the --rcfile option, if the option is present on the command line.

The first three files are read in the order listed, such that if a given rmprc entry is present in each file, the value of the entry read last is the one used by RPM. This means, for example, that an entry in .rpmrc in the user's login directory will always override the same entry in /etc/rpmrc. Likewise, an entry in /etc/rpmrc will always override the same entry in /usr/lib/rpmrc.

If the --rcfile option is used, then only /usr/lib/rpmrc and the file following the --rcfile option are read, in that order. The /usr/lib/rpmrc file is always read first. This cannot be changed.

Let's look at each of these files, starting with /usr/lib/rpmrc.

/usr/lib/rpmrc

The file /usr/lib/rpmrc is always read. It contains information that RPM uses to set some default values. This file should never be modified! Doing so may cause RPM to operate incorrectly.

After this stern warning, we should note that it's perfectly all right to look at it. Here it is, in fact:
#############################################################
# Default values, often overridden in /etc/rpmrc

dbpath:		/var/lib/rpm
topdir:		/usr/src/redhat
tmppath:	/var/tmp
cpiobin:	cpio
defaultdocdir:  /usr/doc

#############################################################

# Please send new entries to rpm-list@redhat.com

#############################################################
# Values for RPM_OPT_FLAGS for various platforms

optflags: i386 -O2 -m486 -fno-strength-reduce
optflags: alpha -O2
optflags: sparc -O2
optflags: m68k -O2 -fomit-frame-pointer

#############################################################
# Canonical arch names and numbers

arch_canon:	i986:	i986	1
arch_canon:	i886:	i886	1
arch_canon:	i786:	i786	1
arch_canon:	i686:	i686	1
arch_canon:	i586:	i586	1
arch_canon:	i486:	i486	1
arch_canon:	i386:	i386	1
arch_canon:	alpha:	alpha	2
arch_canon: 	sparc:	sparc	3
arch_canon: 	sun4:	sparc	3
arch_canon: 	sun4m:	sparc	3
arch_canon: 	sun4c:	sparc	3
# This is really a place holder for MIPS.
arch_canon:	mips:	mips	4
arch_canon:	ppc:	ppc	5
# This is really a place holder for 68000
arch_canon:	m68k:	m68k	6
# This is wrong. We really need globbing in here :-(
arch_canon:	IP:	sgi	7
arch_canon:     IP22:   sgi     7

arch_canon:    9000/712:       hppa1.1 9

arch_canon:    sun4u:   usparc  10

#############################################################
# Canonical OS names and numbers

os_canon:	Linux:	Linux	1
os_canon:	IRIX:	Irix	2
# This is wrong
os_canon:	SunOS5:	solaris	3
os_canon:	SunOS4:	SunOS	4

os_canon:      AmigaOS: AmigaOS 5
os_canon:          AIX: AIX     5
os_canon:        HP-UX: hpux10  6
os_canon:         OSF1: osf1    7
os_canon:      FreeBSD: FreeBSD 8

#############################################################
# For a given uname().machine, the default build arch

buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i986: i386
buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i886: i386
buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i786: i386
buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i686: i386
buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i586: i386
buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i486: i386
buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_i386: i386

buildarchtranslate: i986: i386
buildarchtranslate: i886: i386
buildarchtranslate: i786: i386
buildarchtranslate: i686: i386
buildarchtranslate: i586: i386
buildarchtranslate: i486: i386
buildarchtranslate: i386: i386

buildarchtranslate: osfmach3_ppc: ppc

#############################################################
# Architecture compatibility

arch_compat: alpha: axp

arch_compat: i986: i886
arch_compat: i886: i786
arch_compat: i786: i686
arch_compat: i686: i586
arch_compat: i586: i486
arch_compat: i486: i386

arch_compat: osfmach3_i986: i986 osfmach3_i886
arch_compat: osfmach3_i886: i886 osfmach3_i786
arch_compat: osfmach3_i786: i786 osfmach3_i686
arch_compat: osfmach3_i686: i686 osfmach3_i586
arch_compat: osfmach3_i586: i586 osfmach3_i486
arch_compat: osfmach3_i486: i486 osfmach3_i386
arch_compat: osfmach3_i386: i486

arch_compat: osfmach3_ppc: ppc

arch_compat: usparc: sparc
        

Quite a bunch of stuff, isn't it? With the exception of the first five lines, which indicate where several important directories and programs are located, the remainder of this file contains rpmrc entries that are related to RPM's architecture and operating system processing. As you might imagine, any tinkering here will probably not be very productive, so leave any modifications here to the RPM developers.

Next, we have /etc/rpmrc.

/etc/rpmrc

The file /etc/rpmrc, unlike /usr/lib/rpmrc, is fair game for modifications and additions. In fact, /etc/rpmrc isn't created by default, so its contents are entirely up to you. It's the perfect place to keep rpmrc entries of a system-wide or global nature.

The vendor entry is a great example of a good candidate for inclusion in /etc/rpmrc. In most cases, a particular system is dedicated to building packages for one vendor. In these instances, setting the vendor entry in /etc/rpmrc is best.

Next in the hierarchy is a file named .rpmrc, residing in the user's login directory.

.rpmrc in the user's login directory

As you might imagine, a file called .rpmrc in a user's login directory is only going to be read by that user when he or she runs RPM. Like /etc/rpmrc, this file is not created by default, but it can contain the same rpmrc entries as the other files. The packager entry, which should contain the name and contact information for the person who built the package, is an appropriate candidate for ~/.rpmrc.

File indicated by the --rcfile option

The --rcfile option is best used only when a totally different RPM configuration is desired for one or two packages. Since the only other rpmrc file read is /usr/lib/rpmrc with its low-level default settings, the file specified with the --rcfile option will have to be more comprehensive than either /etc/rpmrc or ~/.rmprc.


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