"One of the milestone events in the history of Linux was the
development of the Red Hat Package Manager, or RPM. In the early
days of Linux there was no widely-used package manager--most
packages were installed and updated by hand via tar files.
Dependencies were something you worked out for yourself, and it was
up to you to manage your config files. You often compiled every
program from source code--not a bad thing in itself, but
time-consuming and usually unnecessary. The need for a package
manager for pre-compiled binaries was apparent and early attempts
to come up with a solution included PM and RPP--predecessors to
"The impact and importance of package managers is so
fundamental that Linux distributions divide along package-manager
lines. Slackware, which uses the old, relatively crude TGZ
packaging, is the sole remaining distribution of the old school.
Most of today's distros are RPM-based: Red Hat, Caldera, Mandrake,
SuSE and Turbo. The only other package manager that has had major
impact is the thoroughly excellent Debian DEB system, which lies at
the heart of Debian GNU/Linux, Storm Linux and Corel Linux--all
"Because RPM is so popular and widely used, there are a number
of graphical RPM tools and supplementary utilities that can be used
with KDE and GNOME desktops. I would suggest, however, that you
avoid using these and learn to use RPM directly from the command
line. RPM commands are easy and you get better and more direct
feedback by typing the commands."
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