ipkg vs. opkg

Werner Almesberger werner at openmoko.org
Thu Jul 31 04:22:16 CEST 2008

There's been a brief but heated discussion on one of our internal
lists on the change from .ipk to .opk. Let me join the flame fest
by 1) dragging this into this more public space, and 2) professing
my ignorance:

In the discussion it was explained that the file formats .deb,
.ipk, and .opk are identical, and that this was just what seems to
be a very misguided attempt at name branding. (I only now realize
that the "o" in "opkg" was supposed to come from "Openmoko", not

However, I wonder if there are any other differences beyond the
mere format. E.g., could systems that use dpkg, ipkg, or opkg
actually install .deb, .ipk, or .opk packages (provided that
they're built for the respective architecture), or are there
other differences beyond just the package format that would cause
this to fail or to cause other problems (such as putting invalid
metadata into the local package database) ?

If .opk is identical to .ipk for all practical purposes, then I
don't think this is a good change and it may not be too late to
revert it. If we look at, say, RPM-based systems, they all use
.rpm and don't try to create arbitrary divisions by using
distribution-specific names.

I also don't know what is actually the difference between opkg
and ipkg. I just thought it's somehow "better" without affecting
the core functionality. Could anyone please explain ? I think I
may not be the only one confused :-)

- Werner

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