I know that Debian comes with an awesome package manager called APT which is capable of installing .deb packages.

I know that RHEL comes with a package manager called Yum and is capable of installing .rpm packages.

But, I have discovered that I can do apt-get install yum and apt-get install rpm. The latter I can presume that it is for installing rpm packages just like I install with dpkg. But what's the use of the former? I have installed it on my machine and from what I've seen I can use both APT and Yum on a Debian system, am I correct?

If I have APT and Yum, can I use features like CentOS Software Collections while keeping packages installed via APT?

2 Answers 2


In short: no you can not!

The longer version:

RPM must be there due to LSB compliance (supported by Debian at least up to end 2015)

I've surfed for a while without any real answer for the presence of YUM.

Yum is a manager build on top of rpm, therefore not relevant per se (unless LSB requires it), so I've issued:

utente@debian:~$ aptitude search ~D^yum$
p   createrepo - tool to generate the metadata for a yum repository
p   dtc-xen - SOAP daemon and scripts to allow control panel management for Xen VMs
p   mock - Build rpm packages inside a chroot
p   yum-utils - Utilities based around the yum package manager    

In summary it seems that a small number of packages in Debian depends on yum per se. If you recursively try to check which of these packages is a dependancy on its turn, what you get is that they are not (with few recursions).

Basically yum is used to create rpm repos from within a chroot in debian or to make use of the XEN SOAP daemon.

  • I've surfed around with no answer too, strange nobody seems to mention it. I've tried to install yum via apt-get and added CentOS sources, tried to install ruby2.2 and broke my whole system. Never thought about it being there only for being a depency for something, the chroot case makes perfect sense. Thank you for taking the time to look at it and answer here!
    – gtbono
    May 25, 2016 at 17:55
  • you broke everything as gcc compilation flags are different between systems, as well as libs/kernel/apps versions. If you do not run into a separate env Centos packages' contents overrrire debian files messing around. welcome to helped clarifying the issue. maybe you could tick this as the correct answer ;) May 25, 2016 at 20:34

Although both RPM and YUM are what really installs the packages, you would probably not be using either of those unless you are proficient with command lines and the various parameters that need to be passed. To make it easier for ordinary people to quickly grasp total control of their system, there are various graphical user interfaces or GUIs that can be used on top of either YUM or RPM. These GUIs are what people commonly see and interact with and not YUM or RPM.


  1. RPM is a package manager while YUM is a frontend that can be used with RPM.

  2. The RPM package manager is unable to track dependencies while YUM can.

  • I thought zypper was the underlying package manager for Debian systems.
    – mdpc
    May 24, 2016 at 21:37
  • 1
    @mdpc Debian uses APT, from what I know, zypper is only for SuSE.
    – gtbono
    May 25, 2016 at 17:57

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