Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Yum Install Fails on Ubuntu EC2 Instance

Ubuntu 9

If you’ve been working with Amazon’s EC2 instances and have tried to use the yum command on an Ubuntu system, you’ve likely encountered an error. This is because yum, the Yellowdog Updater, Modified, is a command-line package-management utility for computers running the Linux operating system using the RPM Package Manager. It’s primarily used by Red Hat-based distributions like CentOS and Fedora. On the other hand, Ubuntu, a Debian-based system, uses apt (Advanced Package Tool) for package management.

In this article, we will delve into why yum install fails on an Ubuntu EC2 instance and how to go about installing packages on Ubuntu systems.

Understanding Package Managers

Package managers are crucial tools in the Linux ecosystem. They handle the installation, upgrade, configuration, and removal of software packages in a consistent manner. Different Linux distributions use different package managers. For example, Red Hat-based systems use yum or dnf, while Debian-based systems like Ubuntu use apt.

When you try to use yum on an Ubuntu system, it fails because yum isn’t installed or recognized by the system. It’s akin to trying to use a Windows executable file on a Mac—it just won’t work.

Using the Right Package Manager

To install packages on an Ubuntu EC2 instance, you should use apt. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Update the package list

Before installing any package, it’s a good practice to update your package list to ensure you’re installing the latest version of the software. Run the following command:

sudo apt-get update

This command retrieves information about the newest versions of packages and their dependencies. It does not install or upgrade any packages.

  1. Install the desired package

After updating the package list, you can install your desired package. For instance, to install Apache, you would run:

sudo apt-get install apache2

The install command followed by the package name (apache2 in this case) instructs apt to install that particular package.

Troubleshooting Installation Errors

If you encounter any errors during the installation process, carefully read the error message. It will usually give you a hint about what went wrong. Common issues include not having enough disk space, not having the correct permissions, or trying to install a package that doesn’t exist.

If you’re having trouble, you can try updating your package list again or fixing broken dependencies with the following command:

sudo apt-get install -f

The -f or --fix-broken option attempts to correct a system with broken dependencies in place.


In conclusion, yum install fails on an Ubuntu EC2 instance because Ubuntu uses the apt package manager, not yum. To install packages on Ubuntu, you should use apt-get update to update your package list, and then apt-get install to install your desired package.

Understanding the package management system of your Linux distribution is crucial for system administration tasks. Always ensure you’re using the correct commands for your specific distribution. For more information on apt, you can check out the official Ubuntu documentation.

Remember, the Linux world is vast and diverse. What works on one distribution might not work on another. Always tailor your commands to the specific distribution you’re working with.

Why does `yum install` fail on an Ubuntu EC2 instance?

yum install fails on an Ubuntu EC2 instance because Ubuntu uses the apt package manager, not yum. yum is primarily used by Red Hat-based distributions like CentOS and Fedora.

What is the difference between `yum` and `apt`?

yum and apt are both package managers, but they are used by different Linux distributions. yum is used by Red Hat-based distributions, while apt is used by Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu. They have different commands and package repositories.

How do I install packages on an Ubuntu EC2 instance?

To install packages on an Ubuntu EC2 instance, you should use the apt package manager. First, update the package list using sudo apt-get update. Then, install the desired package using sudo apt-get install <package-name>.

What should I do if I encounter errors during package installation?

If you encounter errors during package installation, carefully read the error message for hints about the issue. Common issues include insufficient disk space, incorrect permissions, or attempting to install a non-existent package. You can try updating your package list again using sudo apt-get update, or fix broken dependencies with sudo apt-get install -f.

Where can I find more information about `apt` and package management on Ubuntu?

For more information about apt and package management on Ubuntu, you can refer to the official Ubuntu documentation. It provides detailed information and instructions on using apt for package management on Ubuntu systems.

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