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User-installable Debian packages?


There is a fairly new trend out there, best represented by brew.sh and
conda.io, to have user-installable packages. These come very handy in
HPC-near environments or other shared resources that do not grant root
access. In computational biology it is bioconda that is attracting many

I have not completely thought this through. Admittedly, there is
something in me that says that it does not matter since Debian should
care more about what the OS is and not what the users use on it. But
then again, it is exactly via those user-centric bits that we attract
new developers for our distribution. And quite some packages in our
distribution do not really need to be installed as root if they were
installed where the user has write permissions. There would hence be
little overhead over what we have now. Should we not somehow find ways
to tag any such location-agnostic packages and prepare dpkg for
installing e.g. in $HOME/.debian when it is executed as non-root?