Package managers

In Linux, a package manager is a collection of software tools that automate the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing software. A package manager maintains a database of information about installed packages (called the package database) that enables the package manager to uninstall software, establish whether a new package’s dependencies have been met, and determine whether a package you’re trying to install has already been installed.

Here is a list of the major functions of a packet manager:

  • verifying file checksums to ensure the validity of the installed software.
  • verifying digital signatures to authenticate the origin of packages.
  • upgrading software with latest versions.
  • managing dependencies to ensure a package is installed with all packages it requires.
  • creating binary packages.

Two major versions of package management tools exist:

  • RPM Package Manager (RPM)
  • Debian package manager


You cannot install a Debian package on an RPM-based system, or vice versa. However, tools to convert between formats exist (such as alien).
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