How to Identify the Build Time of a Red Hat System

To determine when a Red Hat or CentOs server was first built, use rpm -qi basesystem:

[fred@rhel7 ~]$ rpm -qi basesystem
Name        : basesystem
Version     : 10.0
Release     : 7.el7
Architecture: noarch
Install Date: Thu 16 Apr 2015 18:16:04 CEST    <----- here
Group       : System Environment/Base
Size        : 0
License     : Public Domain
Signature   : RSA/SHA256, Tue 01 Apr 2014 15:23:16 CEST, Key ID 199e3a91fd554c52
Source RPM  : basesystem-10.0-7.el7.src.rpm
Build Date  : Fri 27 Dec 2013 18:22:15 CET
Build Host  : xxxxxxxxxx
Relocations : (not relocatable)
Packager    : Red Hat, Inc. 
Vendor      : Red Hat, Inc.
Summary     : The skeleton package which defines a simple Red Hat Enterprise Linux system
Description :
Basesystem defines the components of a basic Red Hat Enterprise Linux
system (for example, the package installation order to use during
bootstrapping). Basesystem should be in every installation of a system,
and it should never be removed.

Note: The date returned, 16th April in the example above, reflects the time that the operating system was installed. This is usually the same as the system creation time, except in cases where a system has been cloned or built from a pre-installed image. In the last case, the date returned will reflect the build date of the source image, rather than the target system.

RPM Spec Files

Information on RPM spec files is hard to come by. Here’s what I have. It isn’t much but might help somebody trying to build an RPM package for the first time. See also

What the Spec File Does Overall

The spec file is used by the “rpmbuild” command to create a distributable RPM file for a piece of software. The “software” can be a large application including source code, or it might just be the application binary files, or even just a script or two.

The RPM file is a single file containing the software and scripts needed to install/uninstall it on a target system. Continue reading