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im a super newbie at linux, so i apologize in advance for any stupid things i may say!
i have a question about linux in general, or more specifically, red hat's rpms.
when i wanted to install apache 2.0.4 (or some sort of distribution like that) i had to totally rebuild my linux system...i had to find new versions of automake, autoconf, libtool, etc...the list goes on. in the end i just decided to upgrade to the next version of linux.
this process was very fustrating, because i would often have version 1.0.1 (for instance), but i needed the next version 1.0.2.
i also found it fustrating how i had to search the internet for HOURS to find this version 1.0.2. and i STILL had no guarantee that this version would not break other RPMs that depended on another version of this program, but i guess that's a whole other topic.
as a programmer i can appreciate linux very much, and i very much love the O/S and i would love to get back into it, but why should i have to go through a situation like i mentioned above just to upgrade a new version of a program?
i always thought that linux was based around an architecture where each program is independent of another (or not reliant on another one), but it seems as though this is not the case.
There are some dependencies but with RPMs, it will let you know of any dependencies. To upgrade with an RPM, rpm -Uvh filename.rpm the -U says upgrade, v means verbose and h means print hash so you know it's working and not hung.
I am pretty sure that you will find that Apache was included on your RH install CD. No long internet search was likely needed.
Packaging SW as an .rpm is an attempt to make your life easier, but it only succeeds if your system matches the assumptions made by the packager. When you locate an .rpm file, it generally is provided with a description of what distribution it was intended for. If you install a .rpm targeted at a different distribution, the packager's assumptions about your system are probably wrong and you will encounter the problems you describe.
Alternatively, you can download source and compile the application yourself, but you will forgo some convenience.