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To summarize, a package management system uses the computer to keep track of all the various bits and pieces that comprise an application or an entire operating system. Most package management systems use a specially formatted file to keep everything together in a single, easily manageable entity, or package. Additionally, package management systems tend to provide one or more of the following functions:

RPM has been designed with Red Hat's past package management experiences in mind. PM and RPP provided most of these functions with varying degrees of success. Marc Ewing and Erik Troan have worked hard to make RPM better than its predecessors in every way. Now it's time to see how they did, and learn how to use RPM!