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I'm little confused about the two packages in linux.

  • Which one should I use?
  • Does iproute2 obsolete iproute?
  • Do they have different linux kernel dependency?
  • Why change the package name, instead of releasing a new version?
1

It seems that both names refer to the same package.

On Centos / RHEL / Fedora the package is called iproute and its homepage is listed as http://kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/net/iproute2/

OpenSUSE has the package called iproute2 and its home page is listed as https://www.linuxfoundation.org/collaborate/workgroups/networking/iproute2 but the source code is at the same place.

Debian / Ubuntu it is iproute2, and it again comes from https://wiki.linuxfoundation.org/networking/iproute2

So, it is the same package.

To answer the last question, on Ubuntu the iproute name has been obsolete since at least 14.04 LTS ("transitional dummy package for iproute2"). Dropping the transitional name four years later is not unheard of. In 18.04 LTS it is still marked with "Replaces: iproute".

1

I think there may have once been the first major release of iproute ("iproute1" for the sake of clarity), back in year 2001 or so. But it was quite short-lived and now is all but forgotten and thoroughly obsolete.

The fact that the number 2 was added to the name of the upstream source suggests that iproute2 was probably a major/total rewrite of the old "iproute1" and possibly incompatible with it in some ways. The developer may also have restarted the actual version numbering from zero at that point, creating ambiguity if the name of the new release did not include the 2.

Distributions which had at one point included the "iproute1" would naturally call this re-written version iproute2 as that was the name suggested by the upstream source. Other distributions that had skipped "iproute1" altogether could package the iproute2 tools as either iproute or iproute2, according to each distribution's package naming policy.

It's essentially a trade-off between the desires to have packages with simple names, and to follow the name established by the upstream source when possible. Each distribution can make their own choices.

The other Linux network tool kit that is currently known as net-tools is also known as NET-3. At around the time of the 1.2.xx kernel series, its predecessor NET-2 was used. And at some point (maybe the transition between the 1.x.x and 2.0.x kernels?) it was important to use the correct set of tools for the respective major kernel versions.

So in a sense, there is a precedent to including the major release number to the name of the networking tool kit.

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