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Re: User-installable Debian packages?

Quoting Paul Wise (2017-07-22 13:34:46)
> I would wager most Debian packages are not bit-for-bit identical when you
> vary the installation prefix (and Debian build tools don't support doing that
> AFAICT), but you can almost fake user-installable packages using existing
> binary packages using something like this (sorry about the wrapping). If we
> were all using Hurd then a few extra overlay mount points would be enough of
> course.
> ==> .bash.d/software <==
> export PATH=$PATH:~/software/usr/bin:~/software/bin
> export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/software/usr/lib:~/software/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu:~/software/lib:~/software/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
> export PERL5LIB=~/software/usr/share/perl5
> export PYTHONPATH=~/software/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages
> ==> software/update <==
> #!/bin/sh
> rm -rf usr apt/archives/*.deb
> rsync --delete --archive --exclude archives /var/cache/apt/ apt/
> rsync --delete --archive --exclude lock --exclude Lock /var/lib/dpkg/ dpkg/
> apt-get -o 'Dir::Cache=/home/pabs/software/apt' -o
> 'Dir::State::status=/home/pabs/software/dpkg/status' --download-only
> install foo
> for f in apt/archives/*.deb ; do
>     dpkg -x $f .
> done

as far as *installing* (not running) Debian packages under a user-writable path
without superuser privileges goes, there is $DPKG_ROOT which is an attempt at
making this process less hacky than using dpkg -x. Instead of just extracting
the packages somewhere, you *install* them into a non-root path by using the
dpkg options:

--admindir=$(DPKG_ADMINDIR) --instdir="$(DPKG_INSTDIR)" --force-script-chrootless --force-not-root

There are still a couple of remaining problems. For example maintainer scripts
still mostly assume that the package is installed in root. For that, dpkg
exports the environment variable $DPKG_ROOT which the maintainer script can use
to find out where the package is being installed to. Another non-simple blocker
is dpkg-maintscript-helper, also known as #832176. Another are maintainer
script dependencies which have to be met by the host system.

You can find out more about this topic here:


But this is only about the *installation* without root part. This is not about
also being able to run anything that was installed into a non-root path.


cheers, josch

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