Apt Vs Rpm [Distinction Between Package Managers]

Apt and rpm are the package manager tools that are used for the Debian and RedHat-based Linux distribution which are mainly used to manage the system. If you understand the differences between the two packages then you will be able to manage the software effectively. In this article, I will analyze the apt vs rpm package managers in detail. This will help you to distinguish between these two popular package managers.

What is Apt?

In Debian-based Linux distributions, the installation and removal of software are generally managed through the package management system known as the Advanced package tool (APT). It uses tools to manage, update, install, and uninstall operating system packages.

What is Rpm?

RPM is the low-level back-end package manager that is mainly used for RedHat-based Linux distributions. It allows users to install, remove, query, and verify packages. RPM package manager wraps up the files in .rpm format.

Apt vs Rpm: Comparative Analysis Between Parameters

Both of them are package managers that simplify the management of the packages on the different distribution systems. There are some significant differences between them. Some of the differences has shown below in the table:

Parameter Apt Rpm
Definition Front-end and high-level package manager that is top-tier and individually does everything. A low-level package manager that does only basic things.
Distribution Used in Debian and Ubuntu-based distros, such as Debian, and Ubuntu. Red-Hat-based distros, such as RHEL, and Fedora.
Package Format At the backend, it uses the deb files. Uses RPM files.
Back-end Use dpkg at the backend. Use at the backend for other package managers such as YUM, and DNF.
Repositories Added an infinite number of repositories to the apt’s configuration files. Use rpm repositories.
Installation Install a package with a single command and only with the package name. Manually download the package and then install the package. Also, need the full file name.
Source Code Does not use so that lack of customability. Use source code.
Focus on Online repository. Local .rpm repositories.
Dependencies Can resolve automatically. Handling dependency is a little tough.
Pinning Available Unavailable pinning feature that did not revert upgrade.
Update Update the system with one command. Update a single package at a time.
Centralization Depends on Centralized repositories. Is Not always centralized and packages are distributed independently.
User-friendly Yes. No.
Interactive-mode Apt has an interactive mode that helps you to review and confirm changes while making significant changes. Non-interactive.

Syntax Differences Between Apt and Rpm

Here are some useful commands of the package managers that you can use to manage the distribution:

Function apt rpm
Install a package apt install [package name] rpm -i [package name.rpm]
Remove a package apt remove [package name] rpm -e [package name]
Search for a package apt search [package name] rpm -qa | grep [keyword]
Update packages apt update rpm -U [package. rpm]
Query whether a package is installed or not apt -qq list  [package name] rpm -q [package name]
Package Information apt show [package name] rpm -qi [package name]

From the above discussion you can see that there are many advantages of apt over rpm. Furthermore, the syntax of apt is quite simple and understandable for the user. The rpm package manager is used at the backend and Apt is a front-end package manager which is also user-friendly. So it is better to use apt over rpm.

Examples of Apt Package Manager

Here I have shown how one can install, check, uninstall a package, and update the system with apt. You can practice these commands with these examples on Ubuntu:

Example 1: How to Install a Package With apt

You do not have to download the file before, you can only use the following command to install a package with apt:

sudo apt install curl
  • sudo: Gives administrative privileges.
  • apt: Provides a high-level command line interface for the package management system.
  • install: Command to install the following package.
  • curl: The package that I want to install.

Install a package with apt

Here I install the curl package, you can install any package according to your liking.

Showing the progress bar below.

From the images, you can see the progress bar at the bottom which shows the progress in percentage (80%).

Example 2: How to Check Whether a Package is Installed or Not

To see a package is installed or not with apt you can copy the following command on Ubuntu:

sudo apt -qq list nano
  • -qq: Option to query of the following package.
  • list: Shows the list of the following package.
  • nano: The package that I want to check.

You can use -q option instead of -qq option. It will show the same output.

Query for a package with apt

From the image, you can see the package nano which I checked has been installed already.

Example 3: How to Uninstall a Package With apt

If you want to uninstall a specific package then you have to remove it. For uninstalling a package you can copy this command on Ubuntu:

sudo apt remove gedit
  • remove: Remove the desired package from the repository.
  • gedit: The package that I want to remove.

Remove a package with apt

Here I have removed the gedit package, you can select any package according to your liking.

Example 4: How to Update a Package With apt

You can copy this command on Ubuntu to update the installed packages with apt:

sudo apt update
  • update: Command to make packages up to date.

Update packages with apt

The image is showing that you can upgrade 123 packages. You can also see the upgradable package list.

Examples of Rpm Package Manager

See the following commands with practical examples of how to install, uninstall, check, and update a rpm package on Redhat:

Example 1: How to Install a Package With rpm

Firstly you have to download the package file manually. You can use Wget to download the package file. Here I have downloaded mysql package. You can use any package download link according to your preference or you can copy the command:

wget http://dev.mysql.com/get/ivh mysql80-community-release-el7-9.noarch.rpm
  • wget: Free command-line utility that offers both non-interactive and recursive file-downloading facilities from the command prompt.

Download the package manually with rpm

After downloading the package, you can install that package with the following command:

sudo rpm -ivh mysql80-community-release-el7-9.noarch.rpm
  • sudo: Gives administrative privileges.
  • rpm: Red-hat package manager to install, uninstall, and manage software packages.
  • i: Command option to specify the rpm command to install the specified app package.
  • -v: Verbose output
  • -h: Show the hash marks that represent the action of the progress.
  • mysql: The package name.

Install the previously downloaded file

Installation of the mysql package is completed with rpm.

Example 2: How to Check Whether a Package is Installed or Not

To check an installed package in the rpm database, you have to use the rpm query which shows you whether the package is installed or not. To do that you can run the command below:

sudo rpm -q mysql80-community-release-el7-9
  • -q: Query command to retrieve information using rpm command.

Query of a package with rpm

From the image, you can see the package is installed in the rpm database. To check all the installed packages you can use “sudo rpm -qa” command.

Example 3: How to Remove a Package With rpm

If you want to remove a package you have to use the -e option which means erase the installed package from the database. You can easily copy the following command to remove mysql:

sudo rpm -e mysql80-community-release-el7-9
  • -e: Command option to erase software package.

Remove a installed rpm package with rpm

After removing the package, it did not show any output in the terminal. So, I will use the same query command to see if the package is installed or not.

Query of the removed package with rpm

From the image, you can see it shows the package is not installed. If you want to remove a package without its dependencies you can use the –nodeps option.With rpm, you have to use the full file name and also download the package previously which is not user-friendly and also makes the process difficult.

Example 4: How to Update a Package With rpm

I’ll use rpm to upgrade a package here. You can copy this command or use another package based on your requirements:

sudo rpm -U mysql80-community-release-el7-4.noarch.rpm
  • -U: Update a desired package.

Update packages with rpm

You can see from the image that Rpm can only upgrade one package.


You can distinguish between these two package managers based on the above explanation.If you are a developer and want to straightforward install and uninstall then you can use the rpm package manager. Otherwise, it is better to use an apt package manager because of its usability. But it depends on your preference which one you should use.

People Also Ask

What is the difference between RPM and dpkg?
  As two of these are lower-level back-end package managers you have to use them for two different distributions.
Is Ubuntu a Debian or RPM?
You have to use Debian in Debian-based distros such as Linux Mint, and Ubuntu whereas you can use rpm for RedHat-based distribution.
What is APT-RPM?
  This is the modified version of the APT tool that you can use to manage the RPM package manager.

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Afia Zahin Oishi

Assalamualaikum, I am Afia Zahin, completed my graduation in Biomedical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, currently working as a Linux Content Developer Executive at SOFTEKO. A high achieving professional with a strong work ethic and able to work in a team in order to consistently achieve my goal and build my skillset. Able to handle difficult problems with patience and swift decision-making. Read Full Bio

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