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.

  • 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 a RPM package, follow the instructions in RPM Packaging Guide, Chapter Packaging Software.

Software Collections

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

  • A packaging method used and supported by Red Hat.
  • 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, 1.2 What Are Software Collections?

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


Docker-formatted containers are a lightweight virtualization method.

  • Application can be present in multiple independent versions and instances.
  • 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 orchestration of multiple instances.

Additional Resources