1. Overview

Red Hat-based Linux distributions use RPM files to provide programs and libraries. The installation of the application and its dependencies is facilitated by the package manager, usually dnf. The whole thing relies heavily on online repositories.

However, sometimes we’re in a situation where our computer has no internet access. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to install a package and its dependencies offline.

2. The repotrack Command

With repotrack we can download all dependencies required by the program. It comes in the dnf-utils package. So, let’s log in to the online computer and get dependencies of the mc file browser:

$ repotrack --destdir /home/joe/prj/rpm mc

We’ve used the —destdir option to pass the folder for the RPM files.

For the next step, we should transfer the whole content of this directory to the offline computer. Afterwards, let’s install the program and all its dependencies issuing dnf install in the RPM’s directory:

$ sudo dnf install *.x86_64.rpm --disablerepo=*

Notably, the disablerepo=* switches off all active repositories. We must use it to curb dnf attempts to refresh repository data when offline. Also, we install only packages that match the x86_64 architecture of the target computer.

3. Installing the Application From Its Own Repository

As an alternative approach, let’s wrap the dependencies for our program into a regular repository. Subsequently, we’ll transfer the repository to the offline computer and install our program from it.

The important point is to download all dependencies. So, we’ll prevent dnf from finding possible dependencies installed on the online computer.

In addition to dnf, we need the createrepo command. We can install it from the package of the same name.

3.1. The Online Machine – Create the Repository

With dnf, we’re going to use the —installroot option. It points to an empty directory and causes dnf to suppose that no package is installed. Thus, let’s create this temporary directory:

$ mkdir /var/tmp/mc-installroot

The next directory we need is for packages:

$ mkdir /var/tmp/mc

Now, we’re ready to issue the dnf install command:

$ sudo dnf install --downloadonly --installroot=/var/tmp/mc-installroot --releasever=37 --downloaddir=/var/tmp/mc mc

Let’s look through the options. First, with the downloadonly option, dnf doesn’t install or update any package. Then, installroot points to our directory. Next comes releasever with the target Fedora version. So, we can limit the number of downloaded packages. Finally, with downloaddir, we indicate the directory to store downloaded files.

In the next step, we’re going to create a repository from the acquired files with createrepo:

$ createrepo /var/tmp/mc

As the installroot directory is no longer required, let’s remove it:

$ sudo rm -rf /var/tmp/mc-installroot

Finally, let’s compress our work and make it ready to be distributed:

$ sudo tar -czvf mc_repo.tar.gz /var/tmp/mc

3.2. The Offline Machine – Add the Repository

Next, we want to make dnf use the offline repo. To do so, let’s add the repo configuration mc-offline.repo in the /etc/yum.repos.d directory:

$ sudo nano /etc/yum.repos.d/mc-offline.repo

Here are the contents of this file:

name=fedora-37 - mc

Now, let’s take advantage of the automatic package installation done by dnf. Thus, we need to point to our repo with the —enablerepo option:

$ sudo dnf --disablerepo=* --enablerepo=mc-offline install mc

Let’s check the command’s output:

fedora-37 - mc                                   25 MB/s | 274 kB     00:00    
Dependencies resolved.
 Package         Architecture  Version                  Repository         Size
 mc              x86_64        1:4.8.28-3.fc37          mc-offline        1.9 M
Installing dependencies:
 gpm-libs        x86_64        1.20.7-41.fc37           mc-offline         20 k
 slang           x86_64        2.3.3-1.fc37             mc-offline        423 k

Transaction Summary
Install  3 Packages

# ...

  gpm-libs-1.20.7-41.fc37.x86_64            mc-1:4.8.28-3.fc37.x86_64           


So, finally, we can enjoy mc!

4. Conclusion

In this article, we learned two ways of installing RPM packages and their dependencies offline.

First, we used the repotrack and dnf commands to deal directly with the RPM files. As a second approach, we followed the standard way of package installation. So, we created an offline repository for the desired application on the online machine. Then, on the offline computer, we just installed the application from this repository.

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