There are many Linux users who believe that apt is the best available tool for keeping Linux distributions up to date. The developers behind the Conectiva (now Mandriva) Linux distribution have brought apt to RPM-based distributions. Although the number of apt-enabled repositories is growing, it's quite possible that you'll have to create your own if you want to use apt on your Linux computers.
In this chapter, you'll learn a bit about the history and status of apt for RPM distributions, how to configure apt for RPM distributions, such as Fedora Linux and SUSE Linux Professional, and how to create your own apt repositories from an update database. When configured, you can use most of what you learned in Chapter 4, "Making apt Work for You," to manage patches on your network.
By the time you read this, it is quite possible that the Smart package manager will supersede apt for several RPM-based distributions. The lead developer for Smart, Gustavo Niemeyer, also maintained the RPM port of apt during his time with Conectiva. For more information, see www.smartpm.org.
Some of the problems associated with the apt for RPM distributions are problems associated with mixed 32-bit and 64-bit packages. The apt system works well for RPMs only if repository architectures aren't mixed. As of this writing, a number of applications on 64-bit RPM-based distributions require 32-bit libraries. Therefore, apt for RPM is not viable for most 64-bit Linux systems.