Yum, It’s Starting to Get Tasty

The release of Fedora 11 promises numerous new improvements. One such improvement is an updated and more efficient package manager. How does it compare to the previous release, version 10?

Test 3
Yum connects to the Internet to download the latest database of available packages. The following test is run on a database which is already updated, to avoid network latency issues.

yum -y check-update

Cambridge result
real 0m3.450s
user 0m2.127s
sys 0m0.191s

Leonidas result
real 0m3.054s
user 0m1.343s
sys 0m0.217s

Once again Leonidas is a little faster.

Test 4
This command lists information about available packages.

yum list

Cambridge result
real 0m7.030s
user 0m6.875s
sys 0m0.154s

Leonidas result
real 0m6.082s
user 0m5.811s
sys 0m0.270s

Leonidas is about one second faster here. This might not sound like much, but it is when you consider it’s only a 6 second command!

Test 5
Yum has the ability to provide the name of a package which contains a particular file. Here, Yum is finding the package which includes the /etc/fstab file.

yum provides /etc/fstab

Cambridge result
real 0m0.322s
user 0m0.176s
sys 0m0.062s

Leonidas result
real 0m0.327s
user 0m0.157s
sys 0m0.049s

Cambridge actually turns out to be ever so slightly faster here, but they are very close.

Test 6
Yum can query the local package database and search for packages based on their name, such as note taking program Gnote.

yum search gnote

Cambridge result
real 0m0.461s
user 0m0.358s
sys 0m0.080s

Leonidas result
real 0m0.400s
user 0m0.308s
sys 0m0.092s

Not much difference here either, although Leonidas does come out slightly on top.

Test 7
Users can tell Yum to remove programs from the local system, including all their dependencies. Here we are removing Mono, Novell’s implementation of Microsoft’s .NET framework. This will also remove all programs which require Mono, such as note taking program Tomboy and photo manager F-spot.

yum -y erase mono-\*

mono-addins.i586 0:0.4-6.20091702svn127062.1.fc11 mono-core.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11 mono-data.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11
mono-data-sqlite.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11 mono-extras.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11 mono-web.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11
mono-winforms.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11

Dependency Removed:
f-spot.i586 0: gnome-desktop-sharp.i586 0:2.26.0-1.fc11 gnome-sharp.i586 0:2.24.0-3.fc11
gtk-sharp2.i586 0:2.12.7-4.fc11 monodoc.i586 0:2.4-19.fc11 ndesk-dbus.i586 0:0.6.1a-4.fc11
ndesk-dbus-glib.i586 0:0.4.1-4.fc11 tomboy.i586 0:0.14.1-2.fc11

Cambridge result
real 0m32.508s
user 0m6.331s
sys 0m1.454s

Leonidas result
real 0m28.339s
user 0m5.023s
sys 0m1.253s

This is where Leonidas starts to show its prowess over Cambridge as removing all 15 packages was over 4 seconds faster.

Test 8
Of course, one of the major features of Yum is the ability to install packages and their dependencies. Here we install note taking program Gnote, the C++ port of the .NET program Tomboy. The package pulls in 5 dependencies. Binaries were pre-fetched (thanks to the yum-downloadonly package) to bypass any network latency issues.

yum install gnote

gnote.i586 0:0.3.1-1.fc11

Dependency Installed:
boost.i586 0:1.37.0-6.fc11 gconfmm26.i586 0:2.24.0-2.fc11 libgnomemm26.i586 0:2.26.0-1 libpanelappletmm.i586 0:2.22.0-3.fc11
libxml++.i586 0:2.26.0-1.fc11

Cambridge result
real 0m22.261s
user 0m5.420s
sys 0m1.165s

Leonidas result
real 0m21.769s
user 0m4.200s
sys 0m1.082s

Once again, Leonidas was a little faster at installing these packages over Cambridge. The total for these 6 packages under Cambridge was only 4MB, while under Leonidas it was actually 6MB. That’s 50% larger, but it still installed faster.

Yum is a wrapper for RPM and it does appear to have benefited from the update to version 4.7.0 with Leonidas. The performance gains are very modest however and most users will not see a great deal of difference between the two systems. At least, that’s with the light usage seen here. The memory performance increases are reported to go hand in hand with larger transactions and so usage on a grander scale may of course show further improvements. Indeed the majority of performance improvements under Cambridge may actually be a result of the newer kernel and other libraries, rather than RPM 4.7.0 itself. A system with the ext4 file system may also see further performance increases. Either way, Leonidas does edge out Cambridge even if by a slim margin.

Overall, Yum is quite a powerful package manager and with the new presto plug-in should be more considerate of overall network bandwidth. Is Leonidas worth the update simply for the much improved package manager? Probably not, but there are plenty of other reasons to upgrade.

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