Recently the first version of rpm.org’s RPM tool was released. While it is only a minor version (184.108.40.206) this release is a milestones because it is a coordinated release between the participating distributions.
rpm.org, the new community behind the package management tool RPM, released a first common version, RPM version 220.127.116.11.
The release is more a bugfix release focusing on stability and reliability, but nevertheless marks an important date for RPM: for the first time in years this release is coordinated between several distributions. This can be best seen by the changelog: bug fixes where included from both, Red Hat and Novell/Suse.
Previous to this release RPM was maintained in house for each distribution. The disadvantage was duplicated effort but also stagnated development because there was no real central project which could manage and drive the development. Therefore each distribution had a growing stack of patches for RPM which lead to several more-or-less forks of RPM.
The reunification will most likely lead to a new development impulse and maybe even to a better coordination of the package management of the RPM distributions. My hope is indeed that they come closer again.
However, in these days there is also another RPM version developed by Jeff Johnson. He was employed by Red Hat for some time as the main developer of RPM, but problems and difficulties between both parties resulted in a break up of that relation.
Johnson continued the RPM development on his own and in the end launched rpm5.org as the project page. Together with several other developers the development is also driven forwards, however it is not clear which distributions will take over that rpm version. The only officially supporting project seems to be OpenPKG atm.
I wonder how this will turn out: I’m not sure who has the name rights of RPM, but if one party has them exclusively I would not be surprised if the other party has to change the name in the end. The current solution is just confusing for normal users…