List of software package management systems

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This is a list of software package management systems, categorized first by package format (binary, source code, hybrid) and then by operating system family.

Binary packages[edit]

The following package management systems distribute apps in binary package form; i.e., all apps are compiled and ready to be installed used.


OS X[edit]

  • Mac App Store: Official digital distribution platform for OS X apps. Part of OS X 10.7 and available as an update for OS X 10.6.
  • Homebrew: Package manager for OS X, based on Git
  • Fink: A port of dpkg, it is one of the earliest package managers for OS X.
  • MacPorts: Formerly known as DarwinPorts, based on FreeBSD Ports (as is OS X itself)
  • Joyent: Provides a repository of 10,000+ binary packages for OS X based on pkgsrc[1]
  • Nix package manager: 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
  • Zero Install (0install): Cross-platform packaging and distributions software. Uses GnuPG and GTK+ on OS X.
  • 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.




  • Windows Store: Official app store for Metro-style apps on Windows NT and Windows Phone. As of Windows 10, it distributes video games, films and music as well.
  • Windows Phone Store: Former official app store for Windows Phone. Now superseded by Windows Store.
  • 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.
  • Cygwin: Free and open-source software repository for Windows NT. Provides many Linux tools and an installation tool with package manager.
  • Ninite: Proprietary package manager for Windows NT and Ubuntu.
  • Chocolatey: Open-source decentralized package manager for Windows in the spirit of Yum and apt-get
  • wpkg: Open-source package manager that handles Debian packages on Windows. Started as a clone of dpkg, and has many apt-get like features too.
  • Zero Install (0install): Cross-platform packaging and distributions software. Uses .NET Framework on Windows NT.
  • 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.


  • PC-BSD uses files with the .pbi (Push Button Installer) filename extension which, when double-clicked, brings 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 build approximately every 2 weeks from both a stable and rolling release branch of the FreeBSD ports tree.



Source code-based[edit]

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. In both cases, the user must provide the computing power and time needed to compile the app. For example, a recipe file contains information on how to download, unpack, compile and install a package in GoboLinux using its Compile tool. Also, in both cases, the user is legally responsible for the consequences of compiling the package.

  • 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.
  • ABS is used by Arch Linux to automate binary packages building from source or even other binary archives, with automatic download and dependency checking.

OS X[edit]

  • 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.

Hybrid systems[edit]

Meta package managers[edit]

The following unify package management for several or all Linux and sometimes Unix variants. These, too, are based on the concept of a recipe file.

  • Autopackage uses .package files.
  • klik aims to provide an easy way to get software packages for most major distributions without the dependency problems so common in many other package formats.
  • Zero Install installs each package into its own directory and uses environment variables to let each program find its libraries. Package and dependency information is downloaded directly from the software authors' pages in an XML format, similar to an RSS feed.
  • PackageKit is a set of utilities and libraries for creating applications that can manage packages across multiple package managers using back-ends to call the correct program.

Proprietary software systems[edit]

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.

Application-level package managers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Joyent Packages Documentation: Installing on OS X". Joyent. 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  2. ^ "F-Droid, the Android app store for freedom beards.". 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  3. ^ Alexis Kauffmann (2011-10-10). "Le projet Replicant ou Android totalement libre présenté par PaulK" (in French). Retrieved 2014-10-18.