Package Managers

package managers | service managers

brew apt yum apk choco
operating system Mac OS X Debian, Ubuntu Fedora, CentOS Alpine Windows
show version $ brew --version
$ brew config
$ apt --version PS> choco --version
brew apt yum apk windows
list commands $ brew help
$ man brew
$ apt help $ yum help $ apk help PS> choco -?
describe command foo $ brew help foo $ yum help foo $ apk foo --help PS> choco foo --help
describe package foo $ brew info foo $ apt show foo $ apk info foo PS> choco info foo
list files in installed package foo $ brew list foo $ dpkg-query -L foo $ repoquery -l foo
find package (not necessarily installed) with foo.h $ sudo apt-get install -y apt-file
$ apt-file update
$ apt-file search foo.h
$ yum provides foo.h
search available packages for foo $ brew search foo $ apt search foo $ yum search foo $ apk search foo PS> choco list foo
show required dependencies for foo $ brew deps foo $ apt-cache depends foo
show packages (not necessarily installed) depending on foo $ brew uses foo
number of available packages $ brew search | wc -l
$ apt search ' ' \
  | grep -E '^[^ ]' \
  | wc -l
$ yum list | wc -l
PS> choco list -a | measure-object -line
list installed packages $ brew list $ dpkg -l $ yum list installed $ apk info PS> choco list --local-only
show installed package versions $ brew list --versions $ dpkg -l PS> choco list --local-only
diagnostics $ brew doctor $ sudo apt-get check
brew apt yum apk windows
install package foo $ brew install foo $ sudo apt-get install -y foo $ sudo yum install -y foo $ apk add foo PS> choco install -y foo
install package foo from file $ brew install -d foo.rb $ sudo dpkg -i foo.deb $ sudo yum localinstall foo.rpm
remove package foo $ brew uninstall foo
remove all installed versions:
$ bew uninstall --force foo
$ sudo apt remove foo $ sudo yum erase foo $ apk del foo PS> choco uninstall foo
update list of available packages $ brew update $ sudo apt update $ apk update does not store list locally
upgrade package $ brew upgrade foo $ apk add -u foo
remove local old version of package $ brew cleanup foo
switch to old local version of package $ brew switch foo version
upgrade all installed packages to up-to-date versions $ brew upgrade $ sudo apt upgrade
prevent package from being upgraded when upgrading all packages $ brew pin foo
show out-of-date packages $ brew outdated $ apt-get --dry-run upgrade
custom repos
brew apt yum apk windows
list repos (default and added) $ brew tap $ grep -v '^#'^Cetc/apt/sources.list $ cat /etc/yum.repos.d/*.rep
add repo $ brew tap dart-lang/dart $ sudo apt edit-sources $ yum --enablerepo rpmforge \
  install foo
remove repo $ brew untap dart-lang/dart
add trusted key $ curl -L \
  | sudo apt-key add -
package format
brew apt yum apk windows
package suffix .rb .deb .rpm .apk
package format $ ar -r foo.deb debian-binary \
  control.tar.gz data.tar.gz
$ cat \
  control.tar.gz \
  data.tar.gz \
  > foo-1.0.apk
list package contents $ brew list foo $ ar -t foo.deb
extract file from package $ ar -x foo.deb control.tar.gz
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Service Managers

launchd (Mac) systemd (Linux) upstart (Ubuntu)
daemon name launchd init init
startup directories /System/Library/LaunchDaemons
/lib/systemd/system /etc/init
startup file format XML property list; see man launchd.plist an INI style config file; see:
$ man systemd.unit
format of files in /etc/init is described by man 5 init. The files in /etc/init.d are executables supporting standard service subcommands.
current runlevel $ who -r $ who -r $ runlevel
$ who -r
manage services
show services $ launchctl list $ systemctl list-units $ initctl list
describe service $ launchctl list SERVICE $ systemctl show ntp
service status $ systemctl status ntp $ initctl status ssh
$ status ssh
stop service $ systemctl stop ntp $ service SERVICE stop
$ /etc/init.d/SERVICE stop
start service $ systemctl start ntp $ service SERVICE start
$ /etc/init.d/SERVICE start
restart service $ systemctl restart ntp $ service SERVICE restart
$ /etc/init.d/SERVICE restart
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  • automatic (apt)
  • brew services

Package Managers


brew is intended to be run as a non-privileged user. This is achieved by making /usr/local owned and writable by that non-privileged user.

brew installs the files for a package in /usr/local/Cellar/PACKAGE/VERSION. This path, including the package name and the version, is called a keg. brew creates symlinks in /usr/local/{bin,etc,include,lib,man,opt,share} pointing to files in /usr/local/Cellar.

A brew formula is a ruby file defining a subclass of Formula. The subclass defines a url attribute, which is the url of the tarball to be downloaded, and an install method, which is a script which performs the installation.

Brew formulas are kept in a git repository called a tap. brew makes a shallow git clone of each tapped repository in /usr/local/Homebrew/Library/Taps.

The formulas for the homebrew/core tap can be studied at

brew cask

brew cask is an extension for brew which is used to add macOS apps.

$ brew tap caskroom/cask
$ brew cask search chrome
$ brew cask install google-chrome
$ brew cask info google-chrome
$ brew cask upgrade google-chrome
$ brew cask uninstall google-chrome

brew services


deb file format


rpm package manager


Alpine Linux package management


To install choco, run the PowerShell as administrator and execute these commands:

PS> set-executionpolicy bypass
PS> iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))

choco commands that modify the system (i.e. install or uninstall packages) must be run inside a PowerShell with administrative privilege.

Service Managers

A service manager is responsible for starting services when a system is booted.

In early versions of Unix (Research Unix and BSD), the init process ran shell scripts to initialize the system. The most important script was /etc/rc, but there was also /etc/rc.conf and the directory /etc/rc.d.

With System III and System V, instead of running a shell script, the init process read the /etc/inittab configuration file, which had lines in this format:


Run levels determined which services would run. Typically the available run levels were:

0 shutdown
1 single user mode
2-4 multi-user mode
5 X windows
6 reboot

To get the current run level:

$ who -r

The actions for each service (start, stop, and restart) were defined by a script in /etc/init.d with a format like this:

case "$1" in
      echo "starting"
      echo "stopping"
      echo "restarting"
      echo "USAGE: start|stop|restart"

It was also possible to invoke these actions with the service command:

$ sudo service ssh stop


A launchd Tutorial




14.10 was the last version of Ubuntu to use Upstart as the init daemon.

windows services

How to: Create Windows Services

To start a program at login, put a shortcut to it in the Startup folder. To open the Startup folder, type Cmd+R and then shell:startup.

The Task Scheduler can run a program at login or at a scheduled time. Search for Schedule tasks to launch it. Then Action | Create Basic Task... At the end of the task creation, one can check the "Open properties dialog…" checkbox. This exposes all the settings available to shortcuts, including the ability to run the task with administrator privilege, which is something that cannot be done by dropping a shortcut into the Startup folder.

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