A package is a container for something as small as an individual component like Tab, Object, Fields, Custom Label, Reports etc or as large as a set of related apps.
An organization can create a single package that can be downloaded and installed by many different organizations.
Unmanaged packages are typically used to distribute open-source projects or application templates to provide developers with the basic building blocks for an application , whereas Managed packages are typically used by salesforce.com partners to distribute and sell applications to customers.
Once the components are installed from an unmanaged package, the components can be edited in the organization but in case of managed package, the components cannot be edited in the organization they are installed in.
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