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This page pulls heavily from openSUSE's Software Management Command Line Comparison. It has been simplified and has added Arch to the comparison, as well as modified the order in which each distribution exists for the benefit of Arch users.

Action arch redhat/fedora debian/ubuntu old suse opensuse gentoo
Install a package(s) by name pacman -S yum install apt-get install rug install zypper install zypper in emerge [-a]
Remove a package(s) by name pacman -R yum remove/erase apt-get remove rug remove/erase zypper remove zypper rm emerge -C
Search for package(s) by searching the expression in name, description, short description. What exact fields are being searched by default varies in each tool. Mostly options bring tools on par. pacman -Ss yum search apt-cache search rug search zypper search zypper se [-s] emerge -S
Upgrade Packages - Install packages which have an older version already installed pacman -Syu yum update apt-get upgrade rug update zypper update zypper up emerge -u world
Upgrade Packages - Another form of the update command, which can perform more complex updates -- like distribution upgrades. When the usual update command will omit package updates, which include changes in dependencies, this command can perform those updates. pacman -Syu yum upgrade apt-get dist-upgrade zypper dup emerge -uDN world
Reinstall given Package - Will reinstall the given package without dependency hassle. pacman -S apt-get install --reinstall zypper install --force emerge [-a]
Installs local package file, e.g. app.rpm and uses the installation sources to resolve dependencies pacman -U yum localinstall dpkg -i && apt-get install -f zypper in /path/to/local.rpm emerge
Updates package(s) with local packages and uses the installation sources to resolve dependencies pacman -U yum localupdate n/a emerge
Use some magic to fix broken dependencies in a system pacman dep level - testdb, shared lib level - findbrokenpkgs or lddd apt-get --fix-broken rug* solvedeps n/a revdep-rebuild
Only downloads the given package(s) without unpacking or installing them pacman -Sw yumdownloader (found in yum-utils package) apt-get --download-only n/a emerge --fetchonly
Remove dependencies that are no longer needed, because e.g. the package which needed the dependencies was removed. pacman -Qdt(only list them) apt-get autoremove n/a emerge --depclean
Downloads the corresponding source package(s) to the given package name(s) srcpac -Sw ? (third-party. Is there something better?) apt-get source zypper source-install emerge --fetchonly
Install/Remove packages to satisfy buid-dependencies. Uses information in the source package. automatic apt-get build-dep zypper si -d emerge -o
Add a package lock rule to keep its current state from being changed ${EDITOR} /etc/pacman.conf
modify IgnorePkg array
yum.conf <--”exclude” option (add/amend) echo "$PKGNAME hold" | dpkg --set-selections rug* lock-add Put package name in /etc/zypp/locks /etc/portage/package.mask
Delete a package lock rule remove package from IgnorePkg line in /etc/pacman.conf yum.conf <--”exclude” option (remove/amend) echo "$PKGNAME install" | dpkg --set-selections rug* lock-delete Remove package name from /etc/zypp/locks /etc/portage/package.mask (or package.unmask)
Show a listing of all lock rules cat /etc/pacman.conf yum.conf (research needed) /etc/apt/preferences rug* lock-list View /etc/zypp/locks cat /etc/portage/package.mask
Add a checkpoint to the package system for later rollback rug* checkpoint-add n/a
Remove a checkpoint from the system N/A rug* checkpoint-remove n/a
Provide a list of all system checkpoints N/A rug* checkpoints n/a
Rolls entire packages back to a certain date or checkpoint. N/A rug* rollback n/a
Package information management
Get a dump of the whole system information - Prints, Saves or similar the current state of the package management system. Preferred output is text or XML. One version of rug dumps information as a sqlite database. (Note: Why either-or here? No tool offers the option to choose the output format.) (see /var/lib/pacman/local) (see /var/lib/rpm/Packages) apt-cache stats rug dump n/a emerge --info
Show all or most information about a package. The tools\' verbosity for the default command vary. But with options, the tools are on par with each other. pacman -[S|Q]i yum list or info apt-cache showpkg apt-cache show rug info zypper info zypper if emerge -S; emerge -pv
Search for package(s) by searching the expression in name, description, short description. What exact fields are being searched by default varies in each tool. Mostly options bring tools on par. pacman -Ss yum search apt-cache search rug search zypper search zypper se [-s] emerge -S
Lists packages which have an update available. Note: Some provide special commands to limit the output to certain installation sources, others use options. pacman -Qu yum list updates yum check-update apt-get upgrade -> n rug list-updates rug summary zypper list-updates zypper patch-check (just for patches) emerge -uDNp world
Display a list of all packages in all installation sources that are handled by the packages management. Some tools provide options or additional commands to limit the output to a specific installation source. pacman -Sl yum list available apt-cache dumpavail apt-cache dump (Cache only) apt-cache pkgnames rug packages IN PROGRESS emerge -ep world
Displays packages which provide the given exp. aka reverse provides. Mainly a shortcut to search a specific field. Other tools might offer this functionality through the search command. pkgfile <filename> yum whatprovides yum provides apt-file search <filename> rug what-provides zypper what-provides    zypper wp equery belongs (only installed packages)
Display packages which require X to be installed, aka show reverse/ dependencies. rug\'s what-requires can operate on more than just package names. pacman -Qi yum resolvedep apt-cache rdepends rug what-requires IN PROGRESS equery depends
Display packages which conflict with given expression (often package). Search can be used as well to mimic this function. rug\'s what-conflicts function operates on more than just package names (none) rug info-conflicts rug what-conflicts IN PROGRESS
List all packages which are required for the given package, aka show dependencies. pacman -[S|Q]i yum deplist apt-cache depends rug info-requirements IN PROGRESS emerge -ep
List what the current package provides yum provides rug info-provides IN PROGRESS
List the files that the package holds. Again, this functionality can be mimicked by other more complex commands. pacman -Ql $pkgname
pkgfile -l
yum provides apt-file list rug* file-list IN PROGRESS equery files
Search all packages to find the one which holds the specified file. auto-apt is using this functionality. pkgfile -s yum provides yum whatprovides apt-file search rug* package-file rug what-provides IN PROGRESS equery belongs
Display all packages that the specified packages obsoletes. yum list obsoletes apt-cache / grep rug info-obsoletes IN PROGRESS
Verify dependencies of the complete system. Used if installation process was forcefully killed. N/A yum deplist apt-get check ? apt-cache unmet rug verify rug* dangling-requires n/a emerge -uDN world
Generates a list of installed packages pacman -Q yum list installed apt-cache --installed n/a emerge -ep world
List packages that are installed but are not available in any installation source (anymore). pacman -Qm yum list extras n/a
List packages that were recently added to one of the installation sources, i.e. which are new to it. Note: Synaptic has this functionality, however apt doesn\'t seem to be the provider. (none) yum list recent n/a
Show a log of actions taken by the software management. cat /var/log/pacman.log cat /var/log/dpkg.log rug history n/a located in /var/log/portage
Clean up all local caches. Options might limit what is actually cleaned. Autoclean removes only unneeded, obsolete information. pacman -Sc
pacman -Scc
yum clean apt-get clean apt-get autoclean n/a
Add a local package to the local package cache mostly for debugging purposes. cp $pkgname /var/cache/pacman/pkg/ apt-cache add n/a
Display the source package to the given package name(s) apt-cache showsrc n/a
Generates an output suitable for processing with dotty for the given package(s). apt-cache dotty n/a
Set the priority of the given package to avoid upgrade, force downgrade or to overwrite any default behavior. Can also be used to prefer a package version from a certain installation source. ${EDITOR} /etc/pacman.conf
Modify HoldPkg and/or IgnorePkg arrays
yum-plugin-priorities and yum-plugin-protect-packages /etc/apt/preferences smart priority –set n/a
Remove a previously set priority /etc/apt/preferences smart priority --remove n/a
Show a list of set priorities. apt-cache policy /etc/apt/preferences smart priority --show n/a
Ignores problems that priorities may trigger. n/a
Installation sources management ${EDITOR} /etc/pacman.conf
Add an installation source to the system. Some tools provide additional commands for certain sources, others allow all types of source URI for the add command. Again others, like apt and yum force editing a sources list. apt-cdrom is a special command, which offers special options design for CDs/DVDs as source. ${EDITOR} /etc/pacman.conf apt-cdrom add rug service-add rug mount /local/dir zypper service-add layman, overlays
Refresh the information about the specified installation source(s) or all installation sources. pacman -Sy yum check-update apt-get update rug refresh zypper refresh zypper ref layman -f
Prints a list of all installation sources including important information like URI, alias etc. cat /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist rug service-list zypper service-list
Other commands
Start a shell Start a shell to enter multiple commands in one session yum shell apt-config shell zypper shell
Package Verification
Single package rpm -V <package> debsums rpm -V <package> rpm -V <package> equery check
All packages rpm -Va debsums rpm -Va rpm -Va equery check
Package Querying
List installed local packages along with version pacman -Q rpm -qa dpkg-query -l emerge -e world
Display package information: Name, version, description, etc. pacman -Qi rpm -qi dpkg-query -p emerge -pv and emerge -S
Display files provided by package pacman -Ql rpm -ql dpkg-query -L equery files
Query the package which provides FILE pacman -Qo rpm -qf dpkg-query -S
Query a package supplied on the command line rather than an entry in the package management database pacman -Qp rpm -qp dpkg-deb -I
Show the changelog of a package pacman -Qc rpm -q --changelog equery changes -f