Multiplatform Package Manager

Jan 09, 2008

After seven months of development, the highly portable, distribution independent package manager RPM 5.0.0 has now been released.

The package management system, which was originally developed by Red Hat, has been reworked by a project team in collaboration with OpenPKG starting in spring 2007. The rework involved rewriting or updating major parts of the code. The build environment, which is based on automake, autoconf and libtool was programmed completely from scratch. Support is now available for external links to third party libraries. Support for obsolete RPMRC files has been dropped; the configuration now uses RPM throughout.

The RPM code can now be compiled with almost any C complier, including GNU GCC, Sun Studio, and Intel C/C++ on most major platforms, such as BSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X and Windows/Cygwin. Besides LZMA compression RPM now also supports the XML archive file format (XAR). Support for the older RPMv3 format has been dropped due to code cleanups and simplification. The software will still support RPMv4 type packages.

New features for package specifications have been added (spec files) including new tags and sections. All changes and new features are described in the official announcement.

The RPM command line tool was developed by Erik Troan and Marc Ewing in 1997 as the "Red Hat Package Manager" and later renamed to "RPM Package Manager". The package manager was adopted later by other distributions and platforms such as Suse, Mandriva and AIX with ongoing development by the community. It remains to be seen whether RPM 5.0 will succeed. Neither Red Hat nor Novell support the project. Instead, they have their own versions of the package manager. The source code for RPM 5.0 is available from the project website.

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