Difference Between YUM and DNF

If you're an experienced Linux user, you've probably heard of both YUM and DNF. YUM, or Yellowdog Updater Modified, was the default package manager for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system until it was replaced by DNF. DNF, or Dandified YUM, is a next-generation package manager that was introduced in Fedora 18 and is now the default package manager for both Fedora and RHEL.

In this article, we'll explore the differences between YUM and DNF. We'll cover the history of both package managers, their features, and their performance, and we'll also look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

History of YUM and DNF

YUM was first introduced in 2003 as a replacement for the Up2date package manager that was used in early versions of Red Hat Linux. It was developed by Seth Vidal, who was a systems administrator at Duke University. YUM was based on the Yellowdog Updater (YUP), which was originally developed for the Yellow Dog Linux distribution.

YUM quickly became the default package manager for RHEL, CentOS, and other Red Hat-based distributions. It was known for its simple syntax, which made it easy to use for both beginners and experienced users. YUM also had a number of features that made it popular among system administrators, such as automatic dependency resolution and the ability to install packages from multiple repositories.

In 2012, work began on a next-generation package manager called DNF. DNF was designed to be a modern replacement for YUM, with improved performance and new features. It was based on the same underlying technology as YUM, but it was written in the D programming language and used the hawkey library for dependency resolution.

DNF was first introduced in Fedora 18, which was released in 2013. It was initially available as an optional package, but it became the default package manager in Fedora 22, which was released in 2015. DNF was also backported to RHEL 7 and later became the default package manager in RHEL 8.

Features of YUM and DNF

YUM and DNF share many of the same features, but there are some important differences.

Dependency Resolution

One of the most important features of any package manager is dependency resolution. Both YUM and DNF use the RPM (Red Hat Package Manager) format for packaging software, which includes information about package dependencies.

YUM uses a recursive algorithm to resolve dependencies. When you install a package with YUM, it checks the package's dependencies and then installs them if they're not already installed. If any of the dependencies have dependencies of their own, YUM will continue the process until all dependencies have been resolved.

DNF uses a much faster and more efficient algorithm for dependency resolution. It uses the hawkey library, which was designed specifically for package management. Hawkey uses a SAT (Satisfiability) solver to determine the best set of packages to install based on their dependencies. This allows DNF to resolve dependencies much faster than YUM.

Plugin Support

Both YUM and DNF support plugins, which allow you to extend the functionality of the package manager. YUM has a number of built-in plugins, such as the fastestmirror plugin, which automatically selects the fastest mirror for downloading packages.

DNF also has a number of built-in plugins, but it also supports third-party plugins. This allows you to add functionality to DNF that isn't available in the default set of plugins.

Parallel Downloading

Another feature that sets DNF apart from YUM is its support for parallel downloading. When you install a package with DNF, it will download the package and its dependencies in parallel, which can significantly reduce download times. YUM does not support parallel downloading, so it can be slower when downloading large packages or multiple packages at once.

Command Syntax

Both YUM and DNF use similar syntax for their commands. However, there are some important differences to be aware of.

For example, in YUM, the command to install a package is:

yum install package_name

In DNF, the same command is:

dnf install package_name

Note that DNF requires the "dnf" prefix before the command, while YUM does not.

Another difference is in how you search for packages. In YUM, the command to search for a package is:


yum search package_name

In DNF, the same command is:


dnf search package_name

Again, note the "dnf" prefix before the command.


One of the main reasons for the development of DNF was to improve the performance of the package manager. So how do YUM and DNF compare when it comes to performance?

In general, DNF is faster than YUM in most operations. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • Faster dependency resolution algorithm
  • Support for parallel downloading
  • Improved caching mechanisms
  • Better support for multithreading

However, the performance difference between YUM and DNF may not be noticeable on smaller systems or when working with small packages. It's only when you're working with larger packages or many packages at once that the performance advantages of DNF become more apparent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of YUM and DNF

Now that we've looked at the features and performance of YUM and DNF, let's take a closer look at their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of YUM:

  • Simple syntax that's easy to learn and use
  • Widely supported by third-party repositories and software vendors
  • Stable and reliable, with a proven track record
  • Large user community with plenty of documentation and support resources available

Disadvantages of YUM:

  • Can be slower than DNF when working with large packages or many packages at once
  • Limited support for multithreading, which can slow down operations on multi-core systems
  • Does not support parallel downloading, which can also slow down package installation

Advantages of DNF:

  • Faster and more efficient dependency resolution algorithm
  • Support for parallel downloading, which can significantly reduce download times
  • Better support for multithreading, which can speed up operations on multi-core systems
  • Built-in support for third-party plugins, allowing for greater customization and flexibility

Disadvantages of DNF:

  • Syntax can be more complex than YUM, with the "dnf" prefix required for many commands
  • Limited support from third-party repositories and software vendors
  • Relatively new compared to YUM, with less documentation and support available


YUM and DNF are both important package managers for Linux systems, with their own unique features and advantages. While YUM is a stable and reliable package manager with a large user community, DNF offers faster performance and better support for modern hardware.

Ultimately, the choice between YUM and DNF will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you're working with smaller systems or packages, or if you value simplicity and ease of use, YUM may be the best choice for you. But if you're working with larger systems or packages, or if you value performance and customization options, DNF may be the better choice.