This is a comparison of the deb, rpm, tgz, slp, and pkg package formats, as used in the Debian, Red Hat, Slackware, and Stampede linux distributions respectively (pkg is the SVr4 package format, used in Solaris). I've had some experience with each of the package formats, both building packages, and later in my work on the Alien package conversion program.
I've tried to keep this comparison unbiased, however for the record, I'm a fan of the deb format, and a Debian developer. If you discover any bias or inaccuracy in this comparison, or any important features of a package format I have left out, please mail me so I can correct it. Several people have already done so. I'm also looking for data to fill in the places marked by `?'.
This comparison deals only with the package formats, not with the various tools (dpkg, rpm, etc.), that are used to deal with and install the packages. It also does not deal with source packages, only binary packages.