Activity packaging

John Gilmore gnu at
Tue Jul 6 13:50:45 EDT 2010

> I think you are missing an important requirement: installation without
> elevated permissions.

Enhancing deb or rpm to be able to do this would be a win all around.

A nonroot install would install under one's home directory, if either
the package was marked as tested for homedir installation, or the user
provided an override.  The underlying OS would have to ship user PATH
and LD_LIBRARY_PATH defaults to include $HOME/bin and $HOME/lib.  A
package database would exist under $HOME as well.  Read-only access to
the global package database would allow the local package to check
dependencies, etc.  It may be useful to define a standard programming
convention for a package to readily find its control files and data
files (either in /etc and /usr/lib, or in $HOME/.something, etc).

Ideally it should be possible to ask that a package be installed under
any particular directory, allowing users to install several different
versions of a package and run them from different places.  This would
let users run multiple applications which depend on particular
versions of another package (e.g. python), while allowing the system
default to be upgraded to the latest (incompatible) version.

I'd argue for adding this to deb, partly because Fedora at one point
indicated a willingness to move from rpm/yum to deb/apt whenever
"someone does the work", whereas Debian and Ubuntu seem satisfied with
deb and apt.  But that would be a longer road for OLPC and other
existing Fedora users.


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