This is a list of notable software package management systems, categorized first by package format (binary, source code, hybrid) and then by operating system family.
The following package management systems distribute apps in binary package form; i.e., all apps are compiled and ready to be installed and use.
- dpkg: Originally used by Debian and now by Ubuntu. Uses the .deb format and was the first to have a widely known dependency resolution tool, APT. The ncurses-based front-end for APT, aptitude, is also a popular package manager for Debian-based systems;
- Entropy: Used by and created for Sabayon Linux. It works with binary packages that are bzip2-compressed tar archives (file extension:
.tbz2), that are created using Entropy itself, from tbz2 binaries produced by Portage: From ebuilds, a type of specialized shell script;
- Flatpak: A containerized/sandboxed packaging format previously known as xdg-app;
- GNU Guix: Used by the GNU System. It is based on the Nix package manager with Guile Scheme APIs and specializes in providing exclusively free software;
- Homebrew: a port of the MacOS package manager of the same name (see below), formerly referred to as 'Linuxbrew';
- ipkg: A dpkg-inspired, very lightweight system targeted at storage-constrained Linux systems such as embedded devices and handheld computers. Used on HP's webOS;
- netpkg: The package manager used by Zenwalk. Compatible with Slackware package management tools;
- Nix Package Manager: Nix is a package manager for Linux and other Unix systems that makes package management reliable and reproducible. It provides atomic upgrades and rollbacks, side-by-side installation of multiple versions of a package, multi-user package management and easy setup of build environments;
- OpenPKG: Cross-platform package management system based on RPM Package Manager;
- opkg: Fork of ipkg lightweight package management intended for use on embedded Linux devices;
- Pacman: Used in Arch Linux, Frugalware and DeLi Linux. Its binary package format is a compressed tar archive (default file extension:
.pkg.tar.zst) built using the makepkg utility (which comes bundled with pacman) and a specialized type of shell script called a PKGBUILD;
- PETget: Used by Puppy Linux;
- PISI: Pisi stands for "Packages Installed Successfully as Intended". Pisi package manager is used by Pisi Linux. Pardus used to use Pisi, but migrated to APT in 2013;
- pkgsrc: A cross-platform package manager, with binary packages provided for Enterprise Linux, macOS and SmartOS by Joyent and other vendors;
- RPM Package Manager: Created by Red Hat. RPM is the Linux Standard Base packaging format and the base of a number of additional tools, including apt4rpm, Red Hat's up2date, Mageia's urpmi, openSUSE's ZYpp (zypper), PLD Linux's poldek, Fedora's DNF, and YUM, which is used by Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Yellow Dog Linux;
- slapt-get: Which is used by Slackware and works with a binary package format that is essentially a xz-compressed tar archive with the file extension
- Smart Package Manager: Used by CCux Linux;
- Snap: Cross-distribution package manager, non-free on the server-side, originally developed for Ubuntu;
- Zero Install (0install): Cross-platform packaging and distributions software. It is available for Arch Linux, Debian, Knoppix, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, OpenSUSE, Red Hat and Slackware;
- xbps (X Binary Package System): Used by Void Linux;
- apk-tools: Used by Alpine Linux. Originally a collection of shell scripts, but has been since rewritten in C;
macOS (OS X)
- FreeBSD pkg – FreeBSD binary packages are built on top of source based FreeBSD Ports and managed with pkg tool;
- OpenBSD ports: The infrastructure behind the binary packages on OpenBSD;
- pkgsrc: A cross-platform package manager, with regular binary packages provided for NetBSD, Linux and macOS by multiple vendors;
- dpkg: Used as part of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD;
- OpenPKG: Cross-platform package management system based on rpm;
- PC-BSD: Up to and including version 8.2 uses files with the .pbi (Push Button Installer) filename extension which, when double-clicked, bring up an installation wizard program. Each PBI is self-contained and uses de-duplicated private dependencies to avoid version conflicts. An autobuild system tracks the FreeBSD ports collection and generates new PBIs daily. PC-BSD also uses the FreeBSD pkg binary package system; new packages are built approximately every two weeks from both a stable and rolling release branch of the FreeBSD ports tree.
The following package management systems distribute the source code of their apps. Either the user must know how to compile the packages, or they come with a script that automates the compilation process. For example, in GoboLinux a recipe file contains information on how to download, unpack, compile and install a package using its Compile tool. In both cases, the user must provide the computing power and time needed to compile the app, and is legally responsible for the consequences of compiling the package.
- FreeBSD Ports is an original implementation of source based software management system commonly referred to as Ports collection. It gave way and inspired many others systems;
- OpenBSD ports is a Perl based reimplementation of ports collection;
- ABS is used by Arch Linux to automate binary packages building from source or even other binary archives, with automatic download and dependency checking;
- apt-build is used by distributions which use deb packages, allowing automatic compiling and installation of software in a deb source repository;
- Sorcery is Sourcemage GNU/Linux's bash based package management program that automatically downloads software from their original site and compiles and installs it on the local machine;
macOS (OS X)
- Fink, for OS X, derives partially from dpkg/apt and partially from ports;
- MacPorts, formerly called DarwinPorts, originated from the OpenDarwin project;
- Homebrew, with close Git integration;
- pkgsrc can be used to install software directly from source-code, or to use the binary packages provided by several independent vendors.
Game package managers
Package management systems geared toward developing and distributing video games.
- Steam: A cross-platform video game distribution, licensing and social gameplay platform, developed and maintained by Valve. Used to shop for, download, install, update, uninstall and back up video games. Works on Windows NT, OS X and Linux;
- Uplay: A cross-platform video game distribution, licensing and social gameplay platform, developed and maintained by Ubisoft. Used to shop for, download, install and update video games. Works on Windows NT and Windows Phone, as well as PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, iOS and Android.
- Xbox Live: A cross-platform video game distribution platform by Microsoft. Works on Windows NT, Windows Phone and Xbox. Initially called Games for Windows – Live on Windows 7 and earlier. On Windows 10, the distribution function is taken over by Windows Store;
Proprietary software systems
A wide variety of package management systems are in common use today by proprietary software operating systems, handling the installation of both proprietary and free packages.