Package format

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A package format is a type of archive containing computer programs and additional metadata needed by package managers.[1] While the archive file format itself may be unchanged, package formats bear additional metadata, such as a manifest file or certain directory layouts. Packages may contain either source code or executable files.

Packages may be converted to one type to another with software such as Alien.

Common formats

Specialized formats

Format Consumed by
APK Android
APPX and APPXBundle Windows 8 and later, Windows Phone[2]
Deb Debian and its derivatives, such as Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and CrunchBang Linux[3]
ebuild Gentoo Linux[4]
PISI Pardus
PKG OS X, iOS, PlayStation 3, Solaris, SunOS, UNIX System V, Symbian, BeOS, Apple Newton
PUP and PET Puppy Linux
RPM Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, derivatives such as CentOS and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server[5]

Generic formats

Arch Linux's Pacman[6] and Slackware[7] use Tar archives with generic naming but specific internal structures.


  1. Justin Angelo Cappos, Stork: Secure Package Management for VM Environments, ProQuest, 2008, p. 128 ;
  2. "App packaging". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  3. "InstallingSoftware - Community Ubuntu Documentation". Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  4. "ebuild". Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  5. "rpm - Trac". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  6. "makepkg.conf(5) Manual Page". 
  7. "The Slackware Linux Project: Configuration Help". Retrieved 29 September 2014.