"In the past few years, changes in the Linux world helped the
operating system gain acceptance in the mainstream market. Package
management has played no small role in this process. Thanks to
dependency checking, the overall system consistency is kept. Thanks
to file databases, removal of unneeded software is as easy as
installing new, up-to-date precompiled binaries that are guaranteed
to work on your system. Sysadmin skills are not a prerequisite to
run Linux anymore; C and makefile knowledge are no longer required.
RPM and Debian packages ruled the world, the first adopted by the
vast majority of commercial Linux distributions. In a quick glance,
the two systems are just two implementations of the same idea, with
no major differences. A few details, however, make a big difference
in the auto-updating process."
"We first met automatic package retrieval and installation in
the form of apt-get. Debian users are glad to have such a wonderful
tool. One step ahead of package management, users can now keep all
their packages up-to-date, and add/remove packages tied to an
intricate dependency graph, by issuing a single command. And, even
better, APT was designed to be system-agnostic, so no matter if you
use .debs or .rpms; we'll all be happy."
"Well, not quite. Mixing APT and RPM is an obvious step in
making users of RPM-based distributions happier, and probably every
vendor has considered implementing it. A few design problems,
however, have made this goal not so easy to accomplish, and many
distributions decided to use their own updating system. This is not
a very good situation; it fragments the user (and potential
developer) base, it may create incompatibilities, and it duplicates
development effort. On the other hand, apt-get is ready, has
proven to be reliable, and has a nice set of companion utilities
such as apt-cache, apt-move, apt-zip, and gnome-apt."
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