What is a Linux package manager?

What is a Linux package manager?


One of many details how Linux distributions differ from one another is the package deal administration. On this a part of the Linux jargon buster collection, you’ll find out about packaging and package deal managers in Linux. You’ll study what are packages, what are package deal managers and the way do they work and how much package deal managers out there.

What’s a package deal supervisor in Linux?

In less complicated phrases, a package deal supervisor is a device that permits customers to put in, take away, improve, configure and handle software program packages on an working system. The package deal supervisor generally is a graphical software like a software program heart or a command line device like apt-get or pacman.

You’ll typically discover me utilizing the time period ‘package deal’ in tutorials and articles on It’s FOSS. To know package deal supervisor, it’s essential to perceive what a package deal is.

What’s a package deal?

A package deal is often referred to an software however it could possibly be a GUI software, command line device or a software program library (required by different software program applications). A package deal is basically an archive file containing the binary executable, configuration file and generally details about the dependencies.

In older days, software program used to put in from its supply code. You’d confer with a file (often named readme) and see what software program parts it wants, location of binaries. A configure script or makefile is usually included. You’ll have to compile the software program or by yourself together with dealing with all of the dependencies (some software program require set up of different software program) by yourself.

To do away with this complexity, Linux distributions created their very own packaging format to offer the tip customers ready-to-use binary recordsdata (precompiled software program) for putting in software program together with some metadata (model quantity, description) and dependencies.

It’s like baking a cake versus shopping for a cake.

What is a Linux package manager?

Round mid 90s, Debian created .deb or DEB packaging format and Pink Hat Linux created .rpm or RPM (quick for Pink Hat Package deal Supervisor) packaging system. Compiling supply code nonetheless exists however it’s elective now.

To work together with or use the packaging techniques, you want a package deal supervisor.

How does the package deal supervisor work?

Please needless to say package deal supervisor is a generic idea and it’s not unique to Linux. You’ll typically discover package deal supervisor for various software program or programming languages. There may be PIP package deal supervisor only for Python packages. Even Atom editor has its personal package deal supervisor.

For the reason that focus on this article is on Linux, I’ll take issues from Linux’s perspective. Nonetheless, many of the rationalization right here could possibly be utilized to package deal supervisor typically as effectively.

I’ve created this diagram (primarily based on SUSE Wiki) in an effort to simply perceive how a package deal supervisor works.

What is a Linux package manager?

Nearly all Linux distributions have software program repositories which is mainly assortment of software program packages. Sure, there could possibly be a couple of repository. The repositories include software program packages of various type.

Repositories even have metadata recordsdata that include details about the packages such because the identify of the package deal, model quantity, description of package deal and the repository identify and so on. That is what you see when you use the apt present command in Ubuntu/Debian.

Your system’s package deal supervisor first interacts with the metadata. The package deal supervisor creates an area cache of metadata in your system. While you run the replace choice of the package deal supervisor (for instance apt replace), it updates this native cache of metadata by referring to metadata from the repository.

While you run the set up command of your package deal supervisor (for instance apt set up package_name), the package deal supervisor refers to this cache. If it finds the package deal data within the cache, it makes use of the web connection to connect with the suitable repository and downloads the package deal first earlier than putting in in your system.

A package deal could have dependencies. That means that it could require different packages to be put in. The package deal supervisor typically takes care of the dependencies and installs it routinely together with the package deal you’re putting in.

What is a Linux package manager?Package deal Supervisor Dealing with Dependencies In Linux

Equally, if you take away a package deal utilizing the package deal supervisor, it both routinely removes or informs you that your system has unused packages that may be cleaned.

Aside from the apparent duties of putting in, eradicating, you need to use the package deal supervisor to configure the packages and handle them as per your want. For instance, you’ll be able to stop the improve of a package deal model from the common system updates. There are lots of extra issues your package deal supervisor is likely to be able to.

Completely different sorts of package deal managers

Package deal Managers differ primarily based on packaging system however similar packaging system could have a couple of package deal supervisor.

For instance, RPM has Yum and DNF package deal managers. For DEB, you will have apt-get, aptitude command line primarily based package deal managers.

What is a Linux package manager?Synaptic package deal supervisor

Package deal managers usually are not essentially command line primarily based. You have got graphical package deal managing instruments like Synaptic. Your distribution’s software program heart can also be a package deal supervisor even when it runs apt-get or DNF beneath.


I don’t wish to go in additional element on this subject as a result of I can go on and on. However it is going to deviate from the target of the subject which is to offer you a primary understanding of package deal supervisor in Linux.

I’ve omitted the brand new common packaging codecs like Snap and Flatpak for now.

I do hope that you’ve got a bit higher understanding of the package deal administration system in Linux. In case you are nonetheless confused or if in case you have some questions on this subject, please use the remark system. I’ll attempt to reply your questions and if required, replace this text with new factors.


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