Dan Thurman wrote:
What is the difference between rpm -i and rpm -U ?
"-i" is the option for "install". "-U" is the option for "uhh... do the right thing (usually)".
If I have a bunch of rpm files and use -i, will it remove previous versions of packages or will it retain older packages and install the newer package on top?
It will install the package as long as there are no conflicts with existing packages. If an existing package and the packages you are trying to install have some of the same files, for instance, rpm will not install the new package.
I assume -U looks for older packages, removes it if found, and then installs the newer package?
Pretty much, yes. You don't want to do that in the case of kernels, but for most everything else, you do.