WHAT IS NEW IN RPM 5.0.0
The Automake/Autoconf/Libtool-based build environment of RPM was completely revamped from scratch and as one major result mostly all third-party libraries now can be linked externally and in a very flexible way. Support for the ancient and obsolete "rpmrc" files was completely removed, as everything is now configured through RPM "macros" under run-time only.
The RPM code base was ported to all major platforms, including the BSD, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X Unix flavors and Windows/Cygwin. Additionally, the code base was heavily cleaned up and now can be compiled with all major C compiler suites, including GNU GCC, Sun Studio and Intel C/C++.
The RPM packages, in addition to the default Gzip and optional Bzip2 compression, now support also LZMA compression. Additionally, initial support for the XML Archive (XAR) file format was added where the implementation establishes a wrapper archive format for mapping the four sections used in RPM format packages (Lead, Signature, Header and Payload) to files with the same name in a XAR format package. Finally, support for the old RPMv3 (LSB) package format was removed to cleanup and simplify the code base. RPM 5, with respect to RPM format packages, now supports RPMv4 format only.
Additional features for use in package specifications (.spec files) were added, including new standard and even custom tags, new standard sections, etc. Most notably, RPM is now able to automatically track vendor distribution files with its new vcheck(1) based "%track" section and now can automatically download the vendor distribution files, too.
RPM is a powerful and mature command-line driven package management system capable of installing, uninstalling, verifying, querying, and updating Unix software packages. Each software package consists of an archive of files along with information about the package like its version, a description, and the like. There is also a library API, permitting advanced developers to manage such transactions from programming languages such as C, Perl or Python.
Traditionally, RPM is a core component of many Linux distributions, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, CentOS, Mandriva Linux, and many others. But RPM is also used for software packaging on many other Unix operating systems like FreeBSD, Sun OpenSolaris, IBM AIX and Apple Mac OS X by the cross-platform Unix software distribution OpenPKG. Additionally, the RPM archive format is an official part of the Linux Standard Base (LSB). RPM is released as free software under the GNU LGPL distribution license.
HISTORY OF RPM
RPM was originally written in 1997 by Erik Troan and Marc Ewing for use in the Red Hat Linux distribution. Later the development of RPM became a classical free software community effort, now lead since many years by RPM's primary developer Jeff Johnson. In spring 2007 the RPM project was relaunched by Jeff Johnson on a new infrastructure provided by the OpenPKG project and its Ralf S. Engelschall. With the RPM 5 milestone, RPM finally evolved into a fully portable and vendor-agnostic packaging tool, which especially is no longer tied to its historical Linux roots."
Link to Original Source