possible to install an rpm in user space?

Dave Burns tburns at hawaii.edu
Mon Nov 8 19:34:31 UTC 2010

On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 7:31 AM, Stuart D. Gathman <stuart at bmsi.com> wrote:
>  If the original
> poster would present his use-case, that might help determine the
> general usefulness of such a feature

I have a bunch of users on Centos OS. They are climate researchers who
use ncview, nco, grads, some other slightly obscure tools. There is a
tendency for certain datasets to need a certain version of the tool,
so that ideally multiple versions of the tool would be installed on
the same machine for use in different instances. Also, some of these
tools tend to fall behind or jump ahead of the centos distro in terms
of library dependencies. That is, I can't find a centos rpm of a
particular tool, but I can find a fedora or redhat rpm, which would be
close enough except it depends on some library that is older or newer
than the one I have installed.

What I usually try to do in such cases is to fall back to the
configure/make/make install stuff, but do it as a non-root user in
userspace. That way I don't screw up the shared libraries. But it is
usually a confusing, slow and labor intensive task, maybe because I
don't really know what I am doing, maybe because config scripts are a
bit less robust than one might like.

It might make more sense to switch to ubuntu (has slightly better
support for most of the tools in question), or donate some usable
centos rpms, or something like that. Or install some virtual machines
with different versions.

This also seems possibly related to problems I have with the netcdf
libraries, which do appear in rpms, but need to be compiled
differently depending on how your application will be compiled. I'm
not sure that this approach would help there or not, but the idea is
similar - different flavors of the same thing living in different
places on the same machine, use environment variable to decide which
gets used.


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