Linux package management system

There are many Linux package management systems available. Most of major Linux distributions have their own package management system. Redhat Linux package management system is rpm, the well known and widely used package management system by other distributions as well. Debian uses its traditional package management system, dpkg to manage software packages. Slackware's pkgtool is the oldest package management available today (Some people say it's not a package management system).

What is a package management system? Here is a description and some of their functions:

  • A set of program tools to automate the process of installing, configuring and removing software packages from Linux system.
  • It's typically part of the operating system. It comes with official distribution and does its job during Linux installation.
  • It uses a single installation database.
  • It can verify and manages all packages in the Linux system.

Some package management systems come with additional functions:

  • Verifying file checksum to ensure correct and complete software packages.
  • Verifying digital signatures to authenticate the origin of packages.
  • Applying file archives to manage encapsulated files.

The rpm maybe the popular packaging system used by many Linux distributions and also supported in Slackware and Debian but using native distribution’s package must be your first choice unless the software has only rpm package. Though the installation procedures vary substantially between distributions but they are doing similar things which are to perform installation, removal, and upgrades of packages.

Slackware package management system

A Slackware traditional package management system is pkgtool. It's called Slackware package maintenance system and has been in the system since the beginning. However a Slackware group has added a new package management system called slackpkg, an automated tool for management of Slackware Linux packages which provide installing or upgrading packages through a network. The slackpkg added some new utility such as update system, update package list and add, remove and list repositories. Slackpkg DOESN'T replace pkgtool. Actually, Slackpkg uses pkgtool for all install, upgrade, and remove functions. For a complete slackpkg tutorial, we have it in slackpkg - Slackware package management system tutorial.

Using Slackware pkgtool to install slackpkg Slackware package management system

Check whether slackpkg has been installed in your system. If it's not, put in Slackware dvd into your cdrom. Mount the dvd and change directory into /mnt/dvd/extra.

[email protected]:~# man slackpkg
No manual entry for slackpkg
[email protected]:~# mount /dev/hdc /mnt/dvd/
mount: block device /dev/hdc is write-protected, mounting read-only
[email protected]:~# cd /mnt/dvd/
[email protected]:/mnt/dvd# ls
ANNOUNCE.12_1 ChangeLog.txt README_RAID.TXT pasture/
CHECKSUMS.md5.asc PACKAGES.TXT Slackware-HOWTO source/
COPYING3 README.initrd extra/ usb-and-pxe-installers/
Copyright.TXT README_CRYPT.TXT isolinux/
[email protected]:/mnt/dvd# cd extra/
[email protected]:/mnt/dvd/extra# ls -l | grep slackpkg
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 2048 2008-05-02 02:43 slackpkg/
[email protected]:/mnt/dvd/extra# pkgtool

Select installation directory. Choose Ok and press enter.

pkgtool select installation directory

Enter the name of the directory and choose Ok.

pkgtool enter the name of the directory

Select yes to install selected package and choose Ok to install.

pkgtool select yes to install selected package

That's how simple Slackware pkgtool is. It is menu driven interface program, simple and fast.

Redhat package management system

The rpm package use by many distributions such as Redhat, Fedora, Suse, centOS and Mandriva. It's the old legend package management system which still has the largest software resources today. However the new package management system called yum is getting popular and now is used in Fedora and centOS.

Debian package management system

The Debian dpkg is a popular package use by Debian and Debian-based Linux distributions like Ubuntu. Although it is a successful package management system, Debian developer has added another package management system called apt (Advanced Package Management). We have apt tutorial in apt-get - Ubuntu package management system tutorial (Ubuntu is a popular Linux distribution based on Debian).

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