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RPM Package Manager

The RPM was developed at RedHat for keeping track of the files each program or package installed as well as noting what other packages it depended on or depended on it, some information about the source of the package and a brief synopsis.

One should avoid using .rpm package on a Debian system.

There are some good (and more not so good) write-ups comparing the two package management systems. A search for rpm vs deb or rpm vs dpkg will turn them up. todo add some url's for some good ones

Why would anyone want to use the RPM within Debian?

Binary package

If the package only comes in binary .rpm format, you can use alien to convert it.

Source Package

In order to extract sources from an rpm archive, it may be necessary to use the rpm tool.
A developer may want to extract package source code that is only available within an rpm archive.

rpm to dpkg/apt command reference

This guide may help people switching to a dpkg based distribution like Debian from an RPM based one like RedHat.

A quick comparison of rpm and apt/dpkg command-line arguments

List all installed packages:

    rpm -qa
    dpkg --list

List information about an installed package:

    rpm -qi pkgname
    dpkg --status pkgname     (prints a bunch of extra info too)

List files in an installed package

    rpm -ql pkgname
    dpkg --listfiles pkgname

List information about a package on the local hard drive

    rpm -qpi file.rpm
    dpkg --info file.deb

List files in a package on the local hard drive

    rpm -qpl file.rpm
    dpkg --contents file.deb

List files in an uninstalled package (depends on dist)

Extract files in a package without installing it

Install a package from a local file

    rpm -i file.rpm
    dpkg --install file.deb

Remove a package from the system

    rpm -e pkgname              (saves copies of modified config files)
    dpkg --purge pkgname        (removes everything)
    dpkg --remove pkgname       (leaves config files behind)

Identify the package that owns a file

    rpm -qf full-path-to file
    rpm -qf name-of-file-in-local-dir
    dpkg --search any-portion-of-file's-path (2)

Get information about a remote package

    rpm -qpi <url>
    apt-cache show package

List all remote packages

    (browse or your other site)
    apt-cache dumpavail

(1) thanks to Adriaan Penning

(2) i.e. "dpkg --search /etc" will display all packages that have files in etc.

Derived from a page by Scott Bronson at

see also :

Redhat Package Manager (RPM)

RPM was originally designed to be a standalone binary installer for Redhat based GNU/Linux distros (Like Fedora, Mandrake and SUSE). RPM has since been ported to other operating systems such as IBM's AIX and Novell Netware.

Install a .RPM in Debian

To install a .rpm file in a Debian based system you'll need the program Alien. Note that Alien can't work 100% of the time, because rpm and apt are very different.

See also

CategoryPackageManagement CategoryPackaging