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Package Management on Linux

Yesterday I wrote about package managers on Windows, and I’ve felt like this post needed a Linux counterpart.

You might think the package manager situation on Linux is easy - and you are right. There is apt, dnf, pacman, zypper.

Every distribution that isn’t closely based on another, ships with a different package manager.

This article could end here, but it doesn’t, because that’s not the whole story.

In the original article I said that scoop only ships open source apps in it’s repositories. I briefly mentioned Chocolatey, which has a larger collection of apps - some of them also commercial.

The scary story about FLOSSing

Many companies don’t like it, if the community ships unofficial versions of the app in different packaging formats.

So the distribution specific package managers mostly only ship open source apps - they are like scoop.

The Chocolatey equivalent would be Snap. Chocolatey ships a lot of “unofficial” versions of commercial software.

Snapd

Snap - or Snapd, or Snappy or Snapcraft - is a distribution independent package manager. It provides a base layer on which packages are built, each package contains every libary that it needs to run.

The significant service Snap offers is the Snapstore. It is a central place where companies can distribute their software for linux.

And then, there is also Flatpak.

Flatpak

Flatpak is more like Winget or Scoop.

Like Snapd it is also a distribution independent package manager - it provides a base layer on which every app is built, and every app contains everything it needs to run.

The significant difference is, Flatpak is a package format - nothing more. There is no cental store, where apps are distributed.

Ok, technically there is: Flathub. But Flathub isn’t hard coded, you can change the repository at any time and provide your own.

Wrapping Up

As I’ve said: It doesn’t matter which package format you use. Use what works for you.