RPM is one of the two most popular package management systems for Linux. Although originally designed for Red Hat Linux, it is now used by many distributions. Currently there are two versions under active development – rpm.crg (or RPM 4) and RPM 5.
RPV14 is used by many distributions including Fedora. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, OpenSUSE and CentOS. Former RPM maintainer, Jeff Johnson forked the original system and works on RPM 5, and Mandriva is the first major distro to adopt the new format.
Komissarov believes RPM 5 offers significant advantages over RPM 4 and the switch seemed to be motivated by a number of considerations. Besides an active community, many viewed RPM 4 as relatively closed and dominated by Red Hat. Mandriva was already patching RPM 4 for its own needs, and its RPM maintainer Per Oyvind Karlsen was very vocal on Mandriva’s Cooker mailing list in his support for RPM 5.
Furthermore, argues Komissarov, some of the f features in RPM 5 were attractive to Mandriva such as support for ‘soft’ dependencies to resolve package issues. This would allow developers to create a tool to update a distro’s full installation with a single click.
RPM 5 also gave Mandriva a very flexible packaging system, letting it disable packages depending on a country’s software license It uses this flexibility to enable proprietary plugins and drivers in a Russian version of its distro, known as ROSA Desktop.