Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm new to Linux, particularly the distributions I'm using - Ubuntu and openSUSE.

I've looked on the Internet for how to install software on these operating systems, but I can't seem to understand the terms used, such as:

  • Repository
  • Package
  • Source code

Can anyone explain these terms to me? What other terms should a newbie be aware of?

share|improve this question
    
Please at least attempt to use proper capitalization and punctuation in your question(s). That would make them a lot more readable. –  Rabarberski Sep 13 '11 at 14:39
add comment

closed as not constructive by DragonLord, 8088, Daniel Beck, tombull89, Sathya Sep 13 '11 at 14:52

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

To begin with, Ubuntu and openSUSE are similar on the grounds that they are Linux, but have some deep down differences.

As for the terms you want to know:

  • A repository is like a library.

  • A package is like a book.

  • Source code is like ... a slightly different book!

To go on further,

A repository is something you can set up which is basically a database of different packages.

A package is basically nothing more than a list of files and procedures/scripts to be run. This can be anything from downloading and copying a few files to huge system wide changes. It is most commonly used for installing applications (and updates to those applications).

Source code (at a basic level, and the non movie sort!) is the code that is compiled in order for you to run applications. Wikipedia gives the best explanation. Basically, there are packages available which installs the source code to an application rather than the application itself.

In addition, as some builds of Linux are significantly different, an application that runs on one may not run on another. To combat this, some places would rather give you the source code to compile yourself instead of building it many times for each release themselves.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Best option is to read these, and then ask about anything specific you don't understand.

  • Software repository
    (Any place that packages are stored so that people can retrieve them to install them.)

  • Software package
    (This is software "packaged up" into a bundle for distribution and installation.)

  • Source code
    (Basically, this is the code written by the programmer/s. Sometimes software is distributed as source code that then needs to be compiled into an executable program.)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.