deb vs. rpm

Possibly something that many have wondered, especially when starting in Linux is not only which package management system is better but also, what packaging is better.


I do not mean to say which is better, only to find the differences between .deb and .rpm. And I certainly find it difficult, since I don't find many differences.

There are also other minority packages, and also the tarballs.

Both are a database containing the packages, name, version, dependencies, and, in .deb, recommended packages. Previously in .rpm, there was a feature: when updating software, configuration files are left intact or backed up, now also implements .deb.

My experience is that debs are faster looking for dependencies and that .rpm, in general, ask for more dependencies (at least, I don't recommend doing it offline and looking for dependencies one by one, it happened to me with openSUSE)

Both allow you to update the system, search for packages, install / uninstall, search for dependencies and more. They make life easier for us. But deep down what are their real differences?

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  1.   Corrupt Byte said

    None relevant. They both serve the same purpose.

    The LSB proposes the RPM as standard, but it will be very difficult for Debian, Ubuntu and derivatives to change to that package system.

  2.   Cristobal said

    There are many differences in the way of building them, for example, in rpm all the construction information is specified in the spec file, while in deb it is divided mainly into two files, the control and the rules.
    In debs with the control file you can get the dependencies to be calculated for you, while in rpm you have to know them beforehand and put them by hand (this is cumbersome and dangerous).
    In debs there are several ways to create them: debuild, pbuilder, etc; with rpm as far as I know there is only one.
    Then the final objective is the same: create a compressed package or packages of the program with some scripts where the path where to place all the files of a program on the system is specified. Let's not forget that it is the same goal as the Windows and Mac installers, there is no more mystery.
    In Debian there is a greater tendency to multipack programs, while in Mandriva (for example) this tendency is not so pronounced. The truth is that multipacking is not so necessary, and Debian sins of using it too much.
    Which one is better? Neither and both, since everything depends more on the quality of the packer than on the way of packaging.

  3.   chanklor said

    I think that there should definitely be a standard one, either the rpm or the deb
    I opt for the deb, because I think it is the most famous and used, but whatever it is would be good, as long as it is a unique and universal one, to make the installation of new programs in any distro easier for new users ( no way, most of them will come from window $) which will be used to "to install double click on the ***. exe file".

  4.   Alxe said

    I think a new one should be created compatible with both. For example, a simple file with information that transmits it to the package manager and it follows the orders, compiling or searching a server or locally in the process.

  5.   Raphael Hernamperez said

    I agree with Alxe. There should be a standard OpenSource project for any system or platform, including the existing package managers.

    Success would lie in a simple installer that automatically fixes the dependency problem for you. The least we should worry about is the installation of a program, and more about the work we do with that program.

  6.   Laura said

    "The least thing we should worry about is the installation of a program, and more about the work we do with that program."

    Totally agree. Regarding a project compatible with both, also, the truth.

    Cristobal, thanks for the info.

  7.   zodman said

    Have you heard of conary?

  8.   isengrin said

    If I tell you that I have never used debs or rpms? XD

    Well, about five years ago I used RedHat and SuSE for a couple of months, but I hardly messed with the packages. : D

  9.   rheoba said

    I am more supportive of DEBs, although I have nothing against RPM, maybe it is because I have had better experience with debs than with rpm.


  10.   seth said

    @zodman: There is currently no text on this page, you can search for this page title in other pages or edit this page.

    @insengrin: and now you compile everything? Oo

    I don't think so, I hardly ever use .rpm

  11.   123 said

    I used Suse for many years, and I also tried Mandrake, but in the end I ended up on Debian, and you can say, having used both formats (rpm and deb), which seem faster to install the rpm, I think it must be because the type of compression they use, and also the rpm have a characteristic that I cannot find in the debs, and that is that they show the date the package was created and also the name of the packager, before they also differed in that they brought a system of control by signatures and I think debs don't. On the other hand, when I switched to Debian (I also used Kubuntu) with its packaging system, I have forgotten about the dependency problems, but I don't know if this is due to the package system or the distribution itself, the thing is that for me there are no options to Debian anymore ...

  12.   123 said

    PS: There is a program called Alienón), which allows you to convert packages from one format to another, generally works very well, although we rarely need to use it.

  13.   Jonathan said

    Well ... the subject is broad, but I say the following, I am from the Dominican Republic and I participate in the FCLD (Fundacion Codigo Libre Dominicana) whose president is Antonio Perpiñan, considered the father of free software in Latin America by Richard Stallman himself ... Antonio says that The RPMs are more stable, although it stands out that the DEBs are made to install a lot, that is, for the day to day, that is why (he says) is that Ubuntu uses DEB, since it installs a lot and uninstalls a lot, but in REDHAT or CENTOS you don't do that all the time, because they are server environments… I personally prefer DEBs, I have nothing against RPMs but I stay out of habit and functionality….

  14.   123 said

    @Jonathan It's funny what you say, since Debian GNU / Linux, is not designed precisely to install / uninstall a lot, and is oriented to production equipment such as servers (always talking about the Stable version).
    And the truth is that I do not know what is with that that the rpm are more stable. ?

  15.   Caesar Salad said

    Actually the big difference between rpm and deb is… no, I have no idea. But I have learned a lot from everyone's comments. Thank you.

  16.   chanklor said

    hahaha totally agree with Cesar

  17.   kernel_panic said

    all the discomforts that I have had with gnu / linux have been with rpm distros: p: p: p fedora catches my attention, but every time I try it I lose the desire, at least about 3 releases ...

    I am not in a position to say that one is better than the other… but I have had better experiences with .deb

    I have an idea that I have read somewhere about "rpm fragmentation", in which it was said that the development of rpm packages is not so coherent, in the sense of the range of distributions in which they can work without problems. , like debs, which work practically in all debian-based distros, and in that post devs were urged to prevent the same phenomenon from repeating itself with debian packages, but I'm really not sure about that ... I got a I remember very vaguely writing this comment: p

    Something that I really like about debs is the fact that debian repositories are more ... universal, to put it in some way, almost all distros that are derived from debian share their repos, instead in rpm, as far as I have tried, it's a VERY different story: p

    Another alternative that I find very interesting is tarballear, as in arch, that what the package manager handles are the tarballs and it manages the dependencies, so much so that my favorite package manager is no longer synaptic, but shaman: D, but hey, here we are talking about deb vs rpm and that is not relevant xD

    My humble opinion about it, interesting topic, it would be good if someone more knowledgeable would teach us a little more about this interesting topic!

  18.   Silvan said

    The truth is that I have always used .deb, but from what you say there is not much difference ... even the most important difference that you have said may be more political when building them than anything else.

    I don't think it is necessary to standardize them, especially if there is alien, although alien could also be introduced in the main package managers, to make it more compatible, with the corresponding warnings, of course.

    Regarding the comparison of installing an .exe, I disagree with what has been said above. I remember that when I switched to Linux one of the things that gratified me the most was the ease of installing / uninstalling / updating through repositories. In fact it is something that I do not understand as they have not copied already in Microsoft. There can be nothing more pain in the ass than updating in windows ... program by program driver by driver, when each program does not have its own process spending resources simply to check if there is an update.

  19.   isengrin said

    @Seth Sometimes. But no, I use Arch Linux's .pkg.tar.gz. : D

  20.   Cortex said

    I definitely prefer to work directly with the Tarballs, Portage rulez!

  21.   alfonso said

    well, I've always used distributions based on debian precisely because of this issue, everything I need I can install (mostly) with synaptic (or apt-get), and I find it very comfortable. Regarding what the band says here, it seems that there are no big differences, but I do think that they should standardize it because this would bring less confusion to the Linux world, if one package has essentially the same as another, why are there so many? for example kernel_panic mentions that a package manager can handle tarballs, so why are there so many packages? (I guess because of download size) but there are too many, at most there should be tarballs and a second standardized option that would make life much more practical for developers, webmasters and newbies. PS: A congratulations to the blog community because there are no trolls and the comments are almost all very good.

  22.   Mauricio said

    So far and based on personal experience of using both systems, I lean towards DEBs. At least what I remember about the RPM system is that on more than one occasion I had dependency problems with it. On the other hand, with DEB on very rare occasions I have had problems of unsatisfied dependencies and it has always been in unofficial packages of my distro (Ubuntu).
    It seems to me that this is the only difference that I could say since in the rest of the characteristics the handling is practically identical.
    On the other hand, the system that Gentoo uses, to compile directly all the programs that are installed, seems excellent to me when it comes to maintaining all the software that you install with the characteristics that one needs specifically and also optimally tuned to the characteristics of your machine. which allows a greater performance of the equipment. The downside is that every time it is necessary to install the program, you have to go through the entire process of creating the executable.

  23.   Laura S.F. said

    For that reason, Rome could with Germania ... because they were not united and fought between clans.

    It is not very far from reality, however, the variety is very good too ...

    Greetings :)

  24.   damiancoverdale said

    Hello good, I wanted to comment that the subject is interesting, I have tried both and the problem with the RPM is that sooner or later the annoyances of the dependencies begin. Alien does not always work ... but the most important issue I suppose is that of games ... It is known that everyone will want native games, but in order to massify it there should be a universal package compatible with all distros. I think that after that we could talk about windows games in linux, since we are few and above we are all divided ... for that reason Rome could with the germania ... because they were not united and fought between clans. The idea is a little flown but true. Greetings

  25.   kisuke said

    I think the real difference is written in history, the appearance of the first distributions: redhat and debian; Due to this "friendly competition" they have remained and deeply rooted, personally as a distribution I think that the one that is winning is the option of debian, precisely because it is simpler or there is more documentation or there is more propaganda for the new packagers, I think that with that a good packager is formed and in the long run the simplest to use is the one with the best packagers, besides that there are many packages that are in debian and that in other distributions not, then if you want to go to a distro with rpm is a bit annoying annoying to run into the problem of having to package or compile something to be able to use,

    Greetings, and I hope that in the future it will be easier for me to use the rpm

  26.   alex rdgz said

    I lean towards the .deb but if there was a standard I would like the tarballs to be because of their simple and fast

    try slackware one of the first linux distros.

  27.   laura077 said

    Alex, I wrote this post, right now I use slackware and I really like it;)

  28.   thumbtack said

    of all this list of comments, the only thing left is the following.
    rpm = troublesome
    deb = generally_simple
    My personal experience:
    I started years ago with red hat, I used the rpm without many surprises, then I tried suse before the acquisition of novell (fuchili!) and then I met debian ... to this day I still think that it facilitated and helped me many things.
    one of them was deb packages.
    that is why to this day I think it is the best distro. now i am using ubuntu. the truth ... has its bad things, but if you manage, it is 10 (or 9+).
    I don't have much intention of switching to slackware or gentoo ...
    but if I wanted to try another distro, I would try the one recommended by stallman (UTUTO) which has a package manager and compiler that is being talked about a lot by these pampas «ututo-get»

  29.   Javier Castaneda said

    I started using Ubuntu from version 7.04 and I got familiar with the .deb. About a year and a half ago I switched to Debian and the experience was quite good, but trying to find out more about the flavors of Linux I tried Fedora 14 and now Fedora 15. I am desperate to resolve dependencies, it is what causes me at this time to leave Fedora and its .rpm and back to Debian and its .deb.

    (By the way I make this comment from Fedora 15 with Gnome 3 ... let's see how Gnome 3 works in Debian)

  30.   oscar elizalde said

    I have always liked to complicate my life, I used Slackware for a long time and I liked it a lot later when trying to update with Ubuntu 12 my computer was left pooped with the requirements of this also BricsCAD I could never make it work in 3D, now I use PCLinuxOS for me I like it a lot and to date I have not had problems with the .RPM packages, I stay with my PCLinuxOS, it is pretty light, and fast.

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  34.   Erwe said

    In my experience I have noticed a little slower at .rpm compared to .deb although what I love about .rpm is only one thing, the dependencies are searched by itself and also (at least in fedora) pressing "tab" will autocomplete everything what you want to write in the terminal depending on the location and the context to be used, for that reason I passed to fedora what if it is a bit frustrating is the fact that there are times that you find an app only in .deb, example chrome remote desktop, In my opinion the standard should be both in the same distro and if it is unlikely better go to .rpm