What is TORQUE?

"Torque is an ass-kicker." - Matt Keller

Torque is the answer to the question, "how do we keep over 30 Linux servers with various different distros fully updated?", and "how do we make it easy to deploy custom packages that we build?". There are a bunch of "package management" systems out there for rpm based Linux distributions. Of note are Up2Date, YUM, and Red-Carpet. Torque is an interesting animal. It essentially provides a tool suite to create all the necessary configuration files needed to act as a Red-Carpet server. Thus it allows the user to create and manage their own custom channels. The interesting thing is that, by design, Red-Carpet "servers" don't need to be running RCD. All they need to be running is an HTTP server with all the necessary configuration files being shared. Torque takes this to another level though, and stores all the information about channels and packages in a database. This makes maintenance of packages and channels much easier than if we were dealing with static files all the time.

So what's so good about that?

Well, for example, if you happen to be a system admin in charge of say over 30 Linux servers you understand the frustration that exists when a patch for SSH is released. Being able to point all your systems to a local repository of RPMs and have them automagically update is pretty stinkin' cool.

Yeah, but I can get my updates from up2date, etc...

True, you absolutely can. However, with Torque you have the ability to roll your own packages and then create your own channels for all your systems. Or you can request that some one create a specific channel on your Torque server of choice. So you can have a channel just for SSH. For example, we have channels for Fedora Core 1, the Fedora Core RPMS.stable branch, and the LIVNA branch. We also have channels for various other software packages such as Mozilla, ClamAV, Gimp 2.0, etc.

Ok, so this sounds kind of cool, so what features do I have?

Currently you can:
  • Add/delete channels.
  • Add/delete packages (You can add from the filesystem or the web!)
  • Span channels across various distributions (for the case where you have distribution or architecture agnostic packages)
  • Add icons to channels (So you have a nice little graphic next to your channel)
  • Search the database from the torque tool set

Hmmm, sounds impressive...but what about interfaces?

Currently we have a command line client that is fully operational. A web based interface is currently in release, but it is still considered development. Anything on top of that is absolutely possible, especially if you want to contribute to it!

Okay, you sold me so how do I use Torque

Well if you mean how do you use Torque to keep your packages current and up to date, then see our how to torque article. However, if you're interested in downloading Torque and using it to manage your own Red-Carpet channels, then see our our How to use Torque article.

Written by Greg Kuchyt
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