possible to install an rpm in user space?

Stuart D. Gathman stuart at bmsi.com
Tue Nov 9 21:30:19 UTC 2010

On Mon, 8 Nov 2010, Dave Burns wrote:

> 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.

The python rpms support multiple versions of python quite nicely.  The
key is installing the files in separate directories:

drwxr-xr-x   4 root root  4096 Oct 12  2006 /usr/lib/python2.2
drwxr-xr-x  18 root root 20480 Aug 28  2009 /usr/lib/python2.3
drwxr-xr-x  17 root root 20480 Oct 14  2006 /usr/lib/python2.4

I routinely install multiple versions of firefox.  Most of the files go into
/usr/lib/firefox* - for example on my CentOS5 I have:

drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Jul 17  2008 /usr/lib/firefox-3.0
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Oct  9  2008 /usr/lib/firefox-3.0.1
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Dec 22  2008 /usr/lib/firefox-3.0.2
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Feb 13  2009 /usr/lib/firefox-3.0.5
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Apr 17  2009 /usr/lib/firefox-3.0.6
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root 4096 Jul  6  2008 /usr/lib/firefox-3.0b5
drwxr-xr-x 12 root root 4096 Sep  3  2009 /usr/lib/firefox-3.5.2
drwxr-xr-x 10 root root 4096 Oct 20 15:47 /usr/lib/firefox-3.6

The rpms need just a little tweak to avoid fighting over the few shared files.

It sounds like these other packages need to have similar support.
Also, many libraries support multiple ABI versions installed with
the latest RPM.  E.g. libdevmapper has three ABI versions installed
on Centos4.

The effort needed to make relocatable user installable packages would
exceed the effort to tweak the package rpms to support multiple
installed versions.  So your use case doesn't really justify the feature.

You would need it when non-root users need to build and install
packages, and share them with others.

	      Stuart D. Gathman <stuart at bmsi.com>
    Business Management Systems Inc.  Phone: 703 591-0911 Fax: 703 591-6154
"Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis" - background song for
a Microsoft sponsored "Where do you want to go from here?" commercial.

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