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Appendix B. The rpmrc File

The rpmrc file is used to control RPM's actions. The file's entries have an effect on nearly every aspect of RPM's operations. Here, we describe the rpmrc files in more detail, as well as the command used to show how RPM interprets the files.

Using the --showrc Option

As we'll see in a moment, RPM can read more than one rpmrc file, and each file can contain nearly thirty different types of entries. This can make it difficult to determine what values RPM is actually using.

Luckily, there's an option that can be used to help make sense of it all. The --showrc option displays the value for each of the entries. The output is divided into two sections:

  1. Architecture and operating system values.

  2. rpmrc values.

The architecture and operating system values define the architecture and operating system that RPM is running on. These values define the environment for both building and installing packages. They also define which architectures and operating systems are compatible with each other.

The rpmrc values define many aspects of RPM's operation. These values range from the path to RPM's database, to the name of the person listed as having built the package.

Here's an example of --showrc's output:
# rpm --showrc
build arch           : i386
build os             : Linux
install arch         : i486
install os           : Linux
compatible arch list : i486 i386
compatible os list   : Linux
builddir             : /usr/src/redhat/BUILD
buildroot            : (not set)
cpiobin              : cpio
dbpath               : /var/lib/rpm
defaultdocdir        : /usr/doc
distribution         : (not set)
excludedocs          : (not set)
ftpport              : (not set)
ftpproxy             : (not set)
messagelevel         : (not set)
netsharedpath        : (not set)
optflags             : -O2 -m486 -fno-strength-reduce
packager             : (not set)
pgp_name             : (not set)
pgp_path             : (not set)
require_distribution : (not set)
require_icon         : (not set)
require_vendor       : (not set)
root                 : (not set)
rpmdir               : /usr/src/redhat/RPMS
signature            : none
sourcedir            : /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES
specdir              : /usr/src/redhat/SPECS
srcrpmdir            : /usr/src/redhat/SRPMS
timecheck            : (not set)
tmppath              : /var/tmp
topdir               : /usr/src/redhat
vendor               : (not set)

As you can see, the --showrc option clearly displays the values RPM will use. --showrc can also be used with the --rcfile option, which makes it easy to see the effect of specifying a different rpmrc file.