Before proceeding further, we need to have yum itself handy, specifically the yum-arch command and its current documentation. If you are working from the rpm's, you've probably already installed them on your repository (I mean actually installed the program, not necessarily inserted the rpm's into a server on the repository) and one or two test clients. If not, please do, and skip ahead to the sections on installing yum or setting up a server with yum-arch and creating a suitable /etc/yum.conf.
However, if you get the sources via tarball or from the CVS repository, you will have to locally build yum. If you plan to repackage it (basically required if you are setting up a repository ) so that yum clients automatically use the yum-based repositories you set up in their /etc/yum.conf, you will need the tarball (yum-*.tgz) anyway.
The steps required to transform the provided tarball into an rpm are given below. Note that many of these steps are not yet fully documented in the source README or INSTALL files and are a major reason a HOWTO is sorely needed by the project. Most of yum's current systems manager users are already sufficiently expert to be able to build rpm's without additional instructions, but of course many who would like to use yum are not, and in any event it never hurts to document a moderately complicated process even for the experts.
Experts can also disagree. The steps below are ONE way of proceeding, but there are many others. Some managers will be working in monolithic (topdown) management models where they have root control of all clients and will prefer to push /etc/yum.conf out to the clients directly, not de facto pull it onto clients during an install from a repository where it is available, preconfigured for the site in rpm form. Tools exist to make this simple enough (cfengine, rsync, more).
Different people also have different ways of building rpms. Some always proceed as root, for example, using /usr/src/redhat (which exists for that purpose, after all). However, in my own mind working as root is something to be avoided as much as possible because of the risk of unintended consequences when one makes a mistake. Some of you reading this HOWTO may be very uncomfortable working as root for this very reason. I therefore provide step by step instructions on how to turn the yum tarball into an rpm as either a user or as root.
Naturally, the rpm will have to be installed as root either way
Or at least, I'll provide them later. For the moment, I'm all tapped out and have to go anyway. I may not even return to this project for a few days. Told ya' it was a work in progress....