how to install software on remote pc using putty/ssh
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Did you do a full install of whatever distro you're using? If you did, then it's possible that the software you're trying to install either had a bad download or there is some other issue. More details would definitely be helpful.
A user accessing through putty should have exactly the same permissions and capabilities as if they were accessing locally, so I'm guessing this problem isn't putty related.
yes logged in as root, echo $PATH shows all the paths, thanks
Just a suggestion, but it is usually a bad idea to allow root to be able to log in via ssh. If you're logged in as a normal user and then using su to be root, then ignore this comment.
There is a config option in /etc/sshd_config to not allow root login. If you are the only user who logs in using ssh, I would recommend adding your user name to AllowUsers. If you use AllowUsers, you don't need to add each system user to DenyUsers and each system group to DenyGroups. They are denied because they are not allowed.
Please read the "man 5 sshd_config" man page.
You might see that error when you are trying to compile a program in the wrong directory.
It is usually best to download the tarball somewhere in your home directory. Expand it their, read the README file and INSTALL file, then run "./configure" and "make" as a normal user (I also run "make ps" or "make dvi" or "make pdf" if available to produce print worthy documentation from the .texi source that produces the .info files), and then su to root to perform the "make install" phase. I have a couple of times run into some tarball installations where the ./configure or make phases would actually fail if run as root due to PATH differences.
You should have posted more of the error message. It is traditional for the source of the message to be listed before the colon.
You said that you are using putty. If you are connecting using a windows machine, be careful about having any scripts that are edited in windows because the [CR][LF] pair that windows uses will cause failures in scripts and in config files. This can also occur if you ftp get a file or copy a file to a windows machine. There may be some translation done in text mode.
In the least, I would recommend installing cygwin/X on your windows machine. It includes ssh I believe. You would also have access to programs like grep, awk, sed. I have found Cygwin to be invaluable at work. Searching through hundreds of schedules for a certain pattern, or using less on a log file and highlighting certain patterns makes life so much easier using *nix text tools.