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Original author(s)Richard Hughes
Initial release2007; 17 years ago (2007)
Stable release
1.3.0[1] / 16 June 2024; 36 days ago (16 June 2024)
Written inC, C++, Python
Operating systemLinux
TypePackage management system
LicenseGNU General Public License

PackageKit is a free and open-source suite of software applications designed to provide a consistent and high-level abstraction layer for a number of different package management systems. PackageKit was created by Richard Hughes in 2007,[2][3] and first introduced into an operating system as a default application in May 2008 with the release of Fedora 9.[4]

The suite is cross-platform, though it is primarily targeted at Linux distributions which follow the interoperability standards set out by the freedesktop.org group. It uses the software libraries provided by the D-Bus and Polkit projects to handle inter-process communication and privilege negotiation respectively.

PackageKit seeks to introduce automatic updates without having to authenticate as root, fast-user-switching, warnings translated into the correct locale, common upstream GNOME and KDE tools and one software over multiple Linux distributions.[5]

Although PackageKit is still maintained, no major features have been developed since around 2014, and the package's maintainer suggested that it could be replaced by plugins for other tools, such as Flatpak and Snap as they become more popular. However, a D-Bus interface would still be needed to support managing packages on mutable file systems.[6]

Software architecture


PackageKit runs as a system-activated daemon, named packagekitd, which abstracts out differences between the different systems. A library called libpackagekit allows other programs to interact with PackageKit.[7]

Features include:

  • installing local files, ServicePack media and packages from remote sources
  • authorization using Polkit
  • the use of existing packaging tools
  • multi-user system awareness – it will not allow shutdown in critical parts of the transaction
  • a system-activated daemon which exits when not in use


gnome-packagekit 3.32 (released in 2019-03)


  • gnome-packagekit is an official GNOME front-end for PackageKit. Unlike GNOME Software, gnome-packagekit can handle all packages, not just applications, and has advanced features that are missing in GNOME Software as of June 2020.
  • GNOME Software is a utility for installing the applications and updates on Linux. It is part of the GNOME Core Applications and was introduced in GNOME 3.10.




A number of different package management systems (known as back-ends) support different abstract methods and signals used by the front-end tools.[9] Supported back-ends include:

See also



  1. ^ "Release 1.3.0". 16 June 2024. Retrieved 22 June 2024.
  2. ^ "Installing and Updating Software Blows Goats". Richard Hughes. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Richard Hughes' blog posts about PackageKit". Richard Hughes. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Releases/9/FeatureList". Fedora Project Wiki. Fedora Project. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Introduction to PackageKit, a Package Abstraction Framework" (PDF). Richard Hughes. 2008-02-24. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  6. ^ "PackageKit is dead, long live, well, something else". Richard Hughes. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  7. ^ "PackageKit Reference Manual". packagekit.org. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
  8. ^ "HowTo use pkon".
  9. ^ "Frequently asked questions". packagekit.org. Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
  10. ^ "libdnf on github". GitHub.
  11. ^ "librepo on github". GitHub.