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Chapter 12. Distribution Options

Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers three methods of distribution for third-party applications.

RPM Packages

RPM Packages are the traditional method of distributing and installing software.

  • RPM Packages are a mature technology with multiple tools and widely disseminated knowledge.
  • Applications are installed as part of the system.
  • The installation tools greatly assist in resolving dependencies.

Only one version of a package can be installed, making multiple application version installations difficult.

To create an RPM package, follow the instructions in the RPM Packaging Guide, Packaging Software.

Software Collections

A Software Collection is a specially prepared RPM package for an alternative version of an application.

  • A Software Collection is a packaging method used and supported by Red Hat.
  • It is built on top of the RPM package mechanism.
  • Multiple versions of an application can be installed at once.

For more information, see Red Hat Software Collections Packaging Guide, What Are Software Collections?

To create a software collection package, follow the instructions in the Red Hat Software Collections Packaging Guide, Packaging Software Collections.


Docker-formatted containers are a lightweight virtualization method.

  • Applications can be present in multiple independent versions and instances.
  • They can be prepared easily from an RPM package or Software Collection.
  • Interaction with the system can be precisely controlled.
  • Isolation of the application increases security.
  • Containerizing applications or their components enables the orchestration of multiple instances.

Additional Resources