The goal of this website is to help its readers choose a linux-based open-source operating system by examining an integral system utility of any modern linux distribution, the package manager.  This website will examine several popular package management systems available.

What is a package manager?

A package manager, or package managemnt system, is a collection of tools which provides a uniform way of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing software from a computer.  The closest analogy to package managers in a Windows environment is the "Add and Remove Programs" control panel item.

Why Package Managers?

Package managers have long been a part of linux/unix operating systems for many reasons:

  • Ease of Use: Package managers provide easy installation, upgrade and removal of operating system components and user applications.
  • Software Repositories: Using package managers provides the user access to vast free open-source servers full of software which are updated regularly. The commercial equivalents of many these free software packages would cost many thousands of dollars.
  • Handles file dependencies: Package managers attempt to resolve dependency issues related to shared packages.  Package managers make sure all necessary files are loaded onto your system so applications work with minimal effort.  Dependency issues arise because linux systems routinely recycle code through the use of shared libraries and toolkits.  Instead of installing multiple copies of these shared components with each application, linux instead only keeps a minimum number of copies installed.


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