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Package management for non-system locations [message #2241] Tue, 16 August 2005 19:09 Go to next message
Christopher Huhn is currently offline  Christopher Huhn
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From: lxdv17.gsi.de
Simon Lang, who coordinates the Hades software in /misc/hadessoftware, rose the issue of using a package management system for the software management.

After thinking about it for a while, I realized this problem might be tackled on a larger scale as it fits more use cases i.e. to clean up the software installation mess in /usr/local. Evil or Very Mad

I do not have any good solution yet, but these may be requirements for a package management system that installs to non-system locations:
  • Package installation shall be possible with normal user privileges
  • All parts of a software package must be installed below a single directory tree. No files should require to be installed in (/usr)/bin, /etc, /var or the like
  • Multiple versions of the same software shall be installed in different trees at the same time without interference/conflicts
  • The package database should also reside below this directory
  • Features as known from normal package managers should be available:
    • List package contents
    • List to which package a specific file belongs
    • Tell if a file has been modified since installation
    • Obey defined package dependencies
  • Maybe wishlist: allow interdependencies between different installation trees (maybe troublesome, but at least explicit)


My ideas on this matter by now are:
  1. Maybe there exists a solution (at another HEP institute)?
  2. Maybe dpkg can be modified to run no-root-privileges chroot or the like?
  3. Tackle this problem with a version control system and make heavy use of tagging and trunking? This may solve at least some issues.
  4. Maybe I install software you (we?) package into system locations instead? This is done by us anyhow, but multiple parallel versions of stuff are generally troublesome.


Did I forget something important?

What do you think?
Re: Package management for non-system locations [message #2242 is a reply to message #2241] Wed, 17 August 2005 11:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Christopher Huhn is currently offline  Christopher Huhn
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From: lxdv17.gsi.de
Just two potentially interessting links:
Re: Package management for non-system locations [message #2243 is a reply to message #2241] Wed, 17 August 2005 13:21 Go to previous message
Christopher Huhn is currently offline  Christopher Huhn
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From: lxdv17.gsi.de
Håkan Johansson wrote on 17.08.2005 12:31 (by email)

Hello,

I never thought of that, but it could be useful since it somehow would formalise the build process.

Two problems would be that if one want it on an odd kind of machine, one would need to have the package handling environemnt for that. One example is a small axis box we tested (borrowed from hades). Basically a small computer with serial and ethernet
interface, usually with some other custom I/O also. This comes with it's own cross-built environment and is not compatible with any other known distribution.
The other thing is that one gets another step inbetween source and running executables.

The problems above are however more important for hardware related stuff.
For pure software (which also is used by more people), and that usually would run on a standard machine, it makes definately sense to be able to install locally managed packages and by the user.

I'v not tried, but what does dpkg --root=... --admindir=... --instdir=... do for us?

I suppose I should have put this into the forum instead. Feel free.
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