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DNF and Hawkey, the next Generation Yum!

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DNF has no relevant meaning, meant as a project name only. Since DNF is a tech preview in Fedora 18 the Python module names can not be ‘yum.*’ as that would clash with yum itself. Note that the API version of hawkey in Fedora 18 will not be final one, it will more be to demonstrate the concepts of the library.

For Fedora 18 this is mainly meant as a preview. The package can be installed along yum so user’s workflow is not disturbed when DNF malfunctions.

Fedora preferred to fork Yum instead of adopt zif (a package manager that was designed to replace Yum) or zypp (a software management lib that package manager of SUSE zypper uses) because:

  • dnf looks for a middle ground between a sane API and some backwards compatibility.
  • dnf and hawkey are first steps toward using the same resolver accross the entire stack.
  • Libsolv is a well tested and proven code base, currently the most sophisticated and optimized dependency solving implementation.

using dnf

Although users will be advised against using DNF on critical production machines, you can use it in your home box. After all, I don’t think that a production machine runs Fedora 18 alpha :)

sudo yum install dnf

Then you can use dnf similar to yum

sudo dnf update

dnf will benefit Gnome Software probably in Fedora 19

dnf info:

Currently following commands are supported:

clean          Remove cached data
downgrade      downgrade a package
erase          Remove a package or packages from your system
help           Display a helpful usage message
history        Display, or use, the transaction history
info           Display details about a package or group of packages
install        Install a package or packages on your system
list           List a package or groups of packages
makecache      Generate the metadata cache
provides       Find what package provides the given value
repolist       Display the configured software repositories
search         Search package details for the given string
update         Update a package or packages on your system


my installed package:

Name        : dnf
Arch        : noarch
Epoch       : 0
Version     : 0.2.14
Release     : 2.git4831982.fc18
Size        : 0.0  
Repo        : @System
Buildtime   : Wed Oct 17 13:27:55 2012
Install time: Thu Oct 18 03:40:11 2012
Summary     : Package manager forked from Yum, using libsolv as a dependency
            : resolver
URL         :
License     : GPLv2+ and GPLv2 and GPL
Description : Package manager forked from Yum, using libsolv as a dependency
            : resolver.

Dnf uses your current yum repos and its configuration is stored under:


Learn more about DNF [at] DNF Fedora Wiki and see all the features in Fedora 18 [at] Fedora 18 Schedule

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  • Stiph

    I really looked forward Zif at least for the desktop as the aim of the project is quite different from DNF.
    With DNF we will still have the same huge stack of software just to install a package, and it seems more to focus about better depsolving.

    I hope things will improve in term of speed, because that’s the single most criticized thing about Yum, maybe even Fedora.
    The objectives of DNF will not improve things at all in this respect, I believe.

    I’ve got a “classic” hdd and just after displaying the loaded plugins (I
    only have presto), my laptop becomes unresponsive for a loooong time reading
    data. I do not know if it reads the (huge by way) databases downloaded, but it’s quite chocking. When you use packagekit, it ruins the experience as it is very slow. I’ve got no personal grief about it except I’m disappointed. And I think that’s one of the biggest complain about Fedora/RHEL.

    Maybe switching to rpm5 at some point would have improved the situation too. Now rpm and rpm5 have diverged a lot after all those years, I suppose.

    IRL, I’m a developer and I’m ok if it’s slow: I do not install software everyday and I respect Fedora/Redhat a lot of all their contributions during all these years (I’m using Gnome since v1.0). But for casual users, it’s a killer. Just compare with other software installation like in app stores. I understand the app stores use a single package model for instance, that the dependencies can be adjusted very precisely with rpm, but still, when you want to install software, it’s not a good user experience, and spoils the fun :)

    As a side note, with the latest updates from koji, I can not install anything. I will
    not report this as a bug, as the software is in full development.
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/dnf/yum/”, line 246, in get_package
    thisdir = self._get_dir_name(po.pkgtup, po.pkgid)
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/dnf/”, line 78, in pkgid
    (_, chksum) = self.hdr_chksum
    AttributeError: No such checksum.

    • alex285

      > And I think that’s one of the biggest complain about Fedora/RHEL.

      I personally switched from Fedora 17 to UGR because the slow yum(many times broken mirrors made it even slower). I tried transactions with yum and dnf, and I didn’t notice any difference in speed. In their page they say that DNF will *eventually* have a better performance when it’s ready. It’s Red Hat after all, I guess they will build something good -as always do.

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