What Is the Difference Between Dnf and Yum?


In the realm of Linux package management, DNF and yum are two names that often surface. But what sets them apart, and why does it matter? If you’ve ever found yourself pondering this question, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will explore the subtle yet significant differences between DNF (Dandified YUM) and yum, shedding light on their features, purposes, and the scenarios in which each shines. So, let’s dive right in.

What is the Difference Between DNF and yum?

The Evolution of YUM

To understand the differences between DNF and yum, we must first acknowledge their shared lineage. YUM, short for Yellowdog Updater, Modified, has been a stalwart in the world of Linux package management since its inception. It was developed to simplify the process of installing, updating, and removing software packages on Red Hat-based distributions.

Enter DNF: The Next Generation

DNF, which stands for Dandified YUM, emerged as a successor to yum. It was introduced to address some of the limitations and shortcomings of its predecessor. DNF retains the core functionality of yum but enhances it with modern features and performance improvements.

Key Distinctions

Let’s break down the key distinctions between DNF and yum:

1. Dependency Resolution

DNF: DNF employs a more advanced dependency resolver, making it adept at handling complex package dependencies. It can often find solutions to dependency conflicts that would leave yum scratching its metaphorical head.

yum: While yum also resolves dependencies, it may struggle with intricate scenarios, occasionally requiring manual intervention to untangle complex dependency webs.

2. Performance

DNF: DNF boasts faster transaction speeds and reduced memory usage compared to yum. This improvement is particularly noticeable when dealing with extensive software repositories.

yum: Yum, being the older of the two, can feel sluggish when dealing with large package lists. Transactions may take longer to complete.

3. Modularization

DNF: DNF introduces the concept of modularization, allowing users to select specific software versions or streams within a module. This modular approach provides greater flexibility and control.

yum: Yum does not offer the same level of granularity when it comes to software modules.

4. Extensibility

DNF: DNF is designed with extensibility in mind, making it easier for developers to create plugins and extensions to enhance its functionality.

yum: While yum also supports plugins, the architecture of DNF makes it more conducive to extension development.

Use Cases

Now that we’ve examined the differences, let’s consider when to use each package manager:

When to Use DNF

  • Fedora and RHEL 8: DNF is the default package manager for Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, so if you’re using these distributions, DNF is the way to go.
  • Complex Dependency Scenarios: When working with software packages that have intricate dependencies, DNF’s superior resolver shines.
  • Desire for Performance: If speed and efficiency are top priorities, DNF’s performance improvements make it the better choice.

When to Stick with yum

  • Legacy Systems: If you’re managing older Red Hat-based systems, yum is still a reliable choice.
  • Simple Package Management: For straightforward package installations and updates, yum gets the job done.
  • Familiarity: If you’re accustomed to yum and don’t require the advanced features of DNF, there’s no need to switch.


What are the main differences between DNF and yum?

DNF offers advanced dependency resolution, improved performance, modularization, and enhanced extensibility compared to yum.

Can I use DNF on older Red Hat-based systems?

While DNF is the default package manager for newer versions, you can still use yum on older systems if needed.

Is DNF a complete replacement for yum?

DNF maintains compatibility with yum commands, ensuring a smooth transition for users.

Which package manager is better for beginners?

Yum’s simplicity makes it a better choice for beginners, while DNF is favored by experienced users.

Does DNF work on Fedora and RHEL 8?

Yes, DNF is the default package manager for Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

Are there any risks in switching from yum to DNF?

Switching from yum to DNF is generally straightforward, but it’s essential to back up your system and be prepared for potential differences in commands and behavior.

What is the difference between DNF and yum?

DNF (Dandified YUM) is the next-generation package manager for RPM-based Linux distributions like Fedora and CentOS, while YUM was the older package manager that DNF replaced. DNF offers improved performance, better dependency resolution, and additional features compared to YUM.

Does yum still work?

YUM may still be available and functional on some older versions of RPM-based Linux distributions, but it is considered deprecated in favor of DNF. It is recommended to use DNF for package management on modern Linux systems.


In the world of Linux package management, understanding the nuances between DNF and yum can empower you to make informed choices. Whether you opt for the enhanced capabilities of DNF or stick with the familiarity of yum, both package managers play crucial roles in the Linux ecosystem. Your choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

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