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Re: User-installable Debian packages?




Simon McVittie:
> On Sat, 22 Jul 2017 at 12:28:04 +0200, Steffen Möller wrote:
>> 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?
> 
> [...]
> 
> [...] I believe Fedora and Endless are already doing this. Debian could too.
> 

I believe that Endless have a patched version of debhelper to do
this[1].  FWIW, I am happy to work with people who are interested in
improving debhelper's support for flatpak et al.
  I have mostly been stuck with making this generally applicable without
doing "magic" rewrites of all paths (a la [2]).

> [...] Non-relocatable packages (those
> that hard-code paths) need rebuilding from source, but I have some ideas
> about using dh-exec to parameterize the packaging (a bit like the way it
> works in RPM spec files, but simpler) so that can be done automatically.
> 

Do you have an example of these ideas/parameterizations?

I personally toyed with the following two models for doing this:

 1) Merge back the substitution that dh-exec supports and have packages
    replace usr/bin/X with ${bindir}/X, OR

 2) Move from "Install path X" to
    "Install (program|doc|...) basename(X)".  Then debhelper would be
    responsible for figuring out where "basename(X)" was based on what
    it requested from the build system.

Either approach would be combined with alternative paths for --prefix
etc. when building the package.  For most packagers, I think 2) approach
would be easier compared to having to remember the 10+ substitution
variables that are in play for 1).  Though, I think 2) will be a lot
harder to get right for special cases or for items put in locations not
known by debhelper.

Anyway, lets move technical debhelper related follow ups to
debhelper-devel@l.a.d.o (Reply-To accordingly).

Thanks,
~Niels


[1] https://github.com/endlessm/debhelper/

[2]
https://github.com/endlessm/debhelper/commit/25cfa6fc7f974ea799fc6e5ccca469919f233e64