How to install RPM package on Ubuntu Linux

Software installation packages for Linux systems will sometimes come in the form of an RPM file. These are files intended for installation on RHEL-based Linux distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, CentOS, etc. On Ubuntu, the equivalent packages are DEB files. However, it is possible to convert RPM files to DEB and install them on Ubuntu Linux.

In this tutorial, we will go over the step by step instructions to install an RPM file on Ubuntu Linux. An application called Alien can convert RPM packages into DEB files for us, or directly install RPM packages on the fly as it converts them into a format that Ubuntu is compatible with. Follow along with us below to learn how.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to install Alien
  • How to convert an RPM package to DEB file on Ubuntu
  • How to install a DEB file
  • How to convert and install an RPM file in one command
How to install RPM package on Ubuntu Linux
How to install RPM package on Ubuntu Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Ubuntu Linux
Software Alien
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Install RPM package on Ubuntu Linux step by step instructions

Be sure to only install RPM (or DEB) packages from sources that you trust. If the same software is available in your distribution’s official repositories, then it’s much safer and more convenient to just use your system’s package manager to install software.
  1. Get started by opening a command line terminal and installing the Alien application, which we will use to install RPMs on Ubuntu.
    $ sudo add-apt-repository universe
    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt install alien
  2. Next, use the alien command and specify the RPM file that you would like to convert to DEB format:
    $ alien package.rpm

    Note: it is normal to receive some warning messages in your terminal during the conversion process.

  3. After the conversion is completed, you can use the apt command or dpkg command to install the DEB file.
    $ sudo apt install ./package.deb
    $ sudo dpkg -i package.deb

    The package should now be installed on your system.

  4. An alternative method to converting the file is to let Alien do the conversion and installation all in one command. Execute the following Linux command on your RPM file to install it on your Ubuntu system:
    $ sudo alien -i package.rpm

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we saw how to install an RPM package on a Linux system. Although RPM files are intended for RHEL based Linux distributions, the Alien tool allows us to convert these types of packages to DEB files, which Ubuntu has the capability of reading and installing from thanks to the dpkg package manager. This method is not guaranteed to work for every program you download as an RPM file, so you should still try to opt for a DEB file or download from Ubuntu’s official repository whenever possible.

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