Quick HOWTO: View contents of RPM without installing it

In Linux, You may wonder what are the files inside a rpm package and you may want to check them before installing it.

You can do this with the below rpm commands:

If the rpm file available locally:
[[email protected]_server1 ~]# rpm -qlp telnet-0.17-48.el6.x86_64.rpm
[[email protected]_server1 ~]#

[[email protected]_server1 ~]# rpm -q -filesbypkg -p numactl-devel-2.0.9-2.el6.x86_64.rpm
numactl-devel             /usr/include/numa.h
numactl-devel             /usr/include/numacompat1.h
numactl-devel             /usr/include/numaif.h
numactl-devel             /usr/lib64/libnuma.a
numactl-devel             /usr/lib64/libnuma.so
[[email protected]_server1 ~]#

If you want to check the contents of a rpm located in a remote repository:
[[email protected]_server1 ~]# repoquery --list telnet
[[email protected]_server1 ~]#

If you want to check the pre installation and post installation scripts which runs while you installing a rpm package.
[[email protected]_server1 ~]# rpm -qp --scripts sysstat-9.0.4-33.el6.x86_64.rpm
postinstall scriptlet (using /bin/sh):
/sbin/chkconfig --add sysstat
preuninstall scriptlet (using /bin/sh):
if [ "$1" = 0 ]; then
  # Remove sa logs if removing sysstat completely
  rm -f /var/log/sa/*
  # Remove service
  /sbin/chkconfig --del sysstat
[[email protected]_server1 ~]#

If the rpm is already installed, you can use same commands without passing the arguement "-p".

rpm -ql sysstat-9.0.4-33.el6.x86_64
rpm -q --scripts sysstat-9.0.4-33.el6.x86_64

If you want to extract the rpm contents without installing it.
[email protected]_server1~]# rpm2cpio telnet-0.17-48.el6.x86_64.rpm | cpio -idmv
220 blocks