General Question

Vincentt's avatar

So how is RPM better than APT or the other way around?

Asked by Vincentt (7449 points ) August 23rd, 2009

Surely there must be reasons other than historical ones that some Linux distros are clinging on to RPM while others use APT and yet others use other package management systems? What are they?

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5 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

Grumpyfish says:

RPM was popularized by Redhat (of course), so many of the ones derived from Redhat (Fedora, Centos, etc.) continue to use RPM or yum for package management.

Apt grew out of the Debian system. So you can largely use them to trace the “histories” of various structures. Much of this actually has to do with how file systems are set up.

For instance, Redhat and siblings use /etc/sysconfig/ for much of the configuration files, while Debian and siblings keep most of those files in subfolders under /etc/

These low-level organization choices tend to cause people to pick one or the other. I grew up on Slackware, then after 4-years without Linux went back to it via Debian, but have moved to CentOS on my production machines. The Debian -> CentOS shift involved a lot of muscle memory retraining.

Vincentt's avatar

Haha, grumpyfish, I daren’t even say “welcome to Fluther” xD

Anyway, if it were purely historical reasons than surely it must be rewarding for the RPM- and APT-based distros to collaborate on developing a single PM, instead of creating interfaces like PackageKit? Though this wouldn’t allow you to create one installer for all distros, at least it would make it easier for people to package their applications for different distros, since you only need to learn it once.

Also, why was APT created initially again? What was wrong with RPM at the time?

Oh, and I still sometimes hear “I prefer APT” (or something else, of course). Is that just nonsense then, or are there really still actual advantages of one over the other? (Like I believe Fedora recently implemented something so only changes to packages needed to be downloaded instead of the whole application again when a new version was released.)

grumpyfish's avatar

@Vincentt Thanks =) I’ve been around for a while, decided to try on a new name.

From the wikipedia article, it seems that apt is a high-level manager, that simply runs dpkg. dpkg was written in ‘93 to handle .deb files. rpm’s were invented (presumably) in ‘94, with the advent of RH.

I would imagine the “I prefer this” to be the main reason they haven’t attempted to combine forces—like LSB/MSB formats, people end up stuck in their ways.

Vincentt's avatar

Now I’m curious as to your previous username ^.^

Now that you mention it, you’re right, APT was earlier, and also the main reason Debian became popular. I wonder what led Red Hat to create their own package management system then. Ah well, I suppose that can also be very well Googled, stupid me.

the100thmonkey's avatar

The following is purely subjective

I’ve always preferred APT to RPM, even though my first distro was Fedora Core 3. When I first started using Linux, it seemd that APT (through Synaptic) was quicker, especially after a fresh install > system update.

The last few editions of Fedora I’ve used have not been noticeably slower in that respect than Ubuntu.

I’ll reiterate that this is a purely subjective impression – I’ve never benchmarked either package management system.

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