A few months, or even a few weeks, after installing any Linux distribution, its packages are generally out of date. In the case of Red Hat products, including Fedora, a red flashing exclamation point appears in GNOME as the Red Hat Network Alert Notification Tool, to alert you of newer packages available. In most instances, these packages aren't essential to update, unlike our friends running Microsoft Windows, but rather amend new features, fix bugs, etc... In fact, a recent Honeynet Project study revealed most Linux machines were able to survive at least three months on the Internet before being compromised. One of the reasons we hold off on updating all of our packages on a almost daily basis is because of the hassle it presents with turning on every machine, finding a reliable repository to download from, and then waiting while packages download which could be anywhere from a few kilobytes to many megabytes per package. However, this updating process can be substantially easier through the use of a local LAN up2date repository. In this guide, we will share the steps needed in order to establish your own Fedora up2date repository along with configuring your other machine(s) to use this repository. Our basic concept of this guide is to gather the up2date RPMs to one machine, and then using Apache to share these files, while having the client machines connect to the server. Phoronix and its staff take no responsibility for any damage or harm that can potentially occur from following this guide.
Before even deciding how to tackle the task of setting up our own up2date repository, we first settled for what to use as the server. We ended up deciding on a 500MHz Intel Celeron, 10/100 NIC, 256MB SDRAM, Western Digital 12GB IDE HDD, and a Maxtor 10GB IDE HDD. Although 22GB by today's standards is a rather insignificant amount of space, this should be plenty of room for a simple up2date repository. Even though the system does appear rather slow by today's standards, the machine should be adequate for simply running an up2date repository for roughly 12 systems on our LAN, and we have constructed yum (Yellow dog Updater, Modified) repositories with similar specifications, and have experienced no lagging troubles in the past. After this, we did a fresh install of FedoraCore3, and installed all optional packages.
After configuring some basic Fedora settings, we were ready to acquire the necessary RPMs to build our LAN up2date repository. For these procedures, we were logged in as root, though most of the operations can be handled by using a substitute user identity (su). We first created the up2date structure for the files, where machines on our network could access them. To create the directory, we entered mkdir -p /var/www/html/fedora/fedora/3/i386/ alternatively, you can change the i386 depending upon your CPU architecture. We used the default Apache configuration with FedoraCore3 in this guide.
Prior to downloading any updates, we first had to adjust the default up2date rules. First, we entered up2date-config into the terminal. When entering up2date-config, a menu appears with the tabs General, Retrieval / Installation, and Package Exceptions. However, in this situation we only need to change the options under Retrieval / Installation. From this tab, we checked after installation, keep binary packages on disk (this option MUST be checked). For the package storage directory, we used the location of /var/www/html/fedora/fedora/3/i386/, which we created earlier. After configuring up2date, we clicked "ok." Next, we launched up2date (the easiest way for doing this is by clicking the red exclamation point located on the top bar in GNOME).