I've heard that yum is a good alternative to the clunky Red Hat updater. What is yum, and how can I best use it?
The benefit of these newer systems is that you can think less -- the tool imports a flock of updates everytime you use it. The downside is that you lose a little control over the patch level of your host -- you have to operate at a higher level and keep track of everything you tell yum to do. You have to trust yum to keep the patch level of the host sanely arranged, because you can't control the system at the level of a single RPM anymore.
According to the yum docs, you can run yum with packages sourced from a central repository. So you should be able to drag down newly released packages to one spot, and then by running yum on each host, the same flow of patches should be sent to each host from that spot. Standardised and semi-automated patching.
This was first published in June 2004