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A package typically is a bundle of files that together allow you to perform a task.

Most importantly, rpm and deb packages allow you to install software, including its libraries, documentation and config files.

rpm packages

Let's have a look at a small rpm package file, distcc-server-3.1-1.i386.rpm. It is available from the internet and installs a distributed C compiler environment. The name consists of several parts:

  • distcc-server: the name of the package
  • 3.1-1: 3.1 is the version, -1 means this is the first version of the packager.
  • i386: This package is for the i386 processor family. "noarch" would mean it is not architecture dependant.

Let's look what files are in this package:

# rpm -qpl distcc-server-3.1-1.i386.rpm