There have been few advances in software packaging systems since the creation of dpkg and RPM. Conary is being developed to provide a fresh approach to Open Source Software management and provisioning, one that applies new ideas from distributed software version control tools such as GNU arch and Monotone. Rather than concentrating on package files, Conary provides an architecture built around distributed repositories and change sets, and includes features designed to make branching and tracking Linux distributions simple operations.
The rise of distributions such as Fedora and Gentoo has moved the development of Linux distributions from small, tightly-connected groups to widely-dispersed groups of informal collaborators. These changes have brought to light many shortcomings of the dominant packaging metaphor. By providing version trees distributed across Internet-based software repositories, Conary allows these casual groupings of contributors to work together much more effectively than they can today.