Linux Programs and Files: accessible by any installed distro?
Linux - NewbieThis Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question?
If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!
Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org, a friendly and active Linux Community.
You are currently viewing LQ as a guest. By joining our community you will have the ability to post topics, receive our newsletter, use the advanced search, subscribe to threads and access many other special features. Registration is quick, simple and absolutely free. Join our community today!
Note that registered members see fewer ads, and ContentLink is completely disabled once you log in.
If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you need to reset your password, click here.
Having a problem logging in? Please visit this page to clear all LQ-related cookies.
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
Linux Programs and Files: accessible by any installed distro?
One one computer, I am planning on playing around with various distros to see which I like. Are Linux Programs inter-accessible by the various distros? For example, if I use Mandrake to download Firefox browser, can Firefox also be used in the other installed distros?
And what about for files (text files, spreadsheets, office documents) created in one distro? Can they be accessed by any distro?
everything is interchangeable unless you use source packages for installation. If you download .tar.gz files and compile yourself you should be fine. However compiling yourself can be a pain in the arse, so you might like to use .rpm's or .deb file instead. I think firefox will install on any system much like the java development kit, just download the installer (think it's a .bin file)
Thanks for your post, though I'm sorry but I have only a faint idea of what you wrote. The part that I understand is that there are various ways of installing Distros. And your post seems to say that installing with Linux is not like with Windows, where you just double-click the downloaded setup file and keep clicking "next."
If you mean using the same config files etc, then thats not recommended at all because different distros can put things in different places and you can end up screwing up your system. As for applications, I don't think its possible to run an application thats installed on one distro on another unless you are running your distros on different computers, and accessing the other computer using ssh or something similar. You can use the same home directory but that can still cause you problems.
I was talking about installing a system and then installing all the program onto it.
Format that system
Then install a new system and install the programs on that system.
and so on.
If you want to install a program only once and keep your home directory between each distribution you will have troubles.
And yes there are different ways of installing programs on linux, in fact there are many different ways for many different distribution. The easiest is to install via a package management system which windows has where you can click on a setup file and it will install for you. Linux has similar systems such as .rpm (SUSE, redhat, fedora and many more) or .deb (debain) and others. The only was you can be sure that an application will install on all linux distrubutions is to download the source code (the code that the program is written in) and then compiling it yourself using gcc (C compiler). Some files are smart and will install with their own installer, I think firefox has one of these installers and you can tell if it is because it will have a .bin extension
But I don't want to discourage you either. Learning is accessible to all, including you and me. So if you've got the will, here are a few tips:
- Linux is based on the Unix phylosophy, where each program is installed under a standard prefix-path.
- Unix, hence Linux, permits either remote exports or local hard-disk partitions, to be "linked to" (we say mounted) anywhere on the filesystem (especially on places corresponding to well-known prefixes).
- Any binary can be executed, so long as access rights are OK (uid, gid), it is in the PATH (or full path is given), and this binary finds its needed libraries at the expected place (or if you're lucky, using ld -> /etc/ld.so.conf).
Originally posted by theYinYeti - Linux permits either remote exports or local hard-disk partitions, to be "linked to" (we say mounted) anywhere on the filesystem (especially on places corresponding to well-known prefixes).
No. For example, you could have:
/dev/hda4: your programs...
When you boot Mandrake, Mandrake would be configured to mount /dev/hda2 as "/", and /dev/hda4 as "/usr/local".
When you boot Debian, Debian would be configured to mount /dev/hda3 as "/", and /dev/hda4 as "/usr/local".
From each distribution's point of view, the /usr/local directory is its own, but in fact it is mounted there. It could even be mounted there from a remote server!
The problem is that binaries living in /usr/local/bin will probably need a number of software libraries. Some of them may be in /usr/local/lib, maybe. But most libraries will instead be looked for in /usr/lib, and those depend on what you install with each single distribution, because /usr/lib is not shared.
Of course, you could try and share /usr/lib too, but appart from /usr/local, and /opt, or a place of your own (or /home too), sharing directories and using a package manager don't live together well.
In fact, the more directories you share, the closer you are to the "thin client" model. But with this model, all clients share almost everything, and there's no point in trying different distributions for running as a thin client.
You can have Windows 98 and/or Windows ME and/or Windows XP in the same computer, but: would you make them share the "C:\Program Files" folder? Certainly you could try to do so, and maybe it could work, but likely you will run in a lot of troubles it you try it. On the other hand, you wouldn't expect too many problems if they share "My Documents", as the important thing for documents are the applications: as long as you have your spreadsheet program installed in all your Windows, you will be able to open the files and work with them, without major (if any) difficulties.
Well... the same applies for different Linux distributions!
Hope this makes things clearer for you.
EDIT: Some misstypings.
Last edited by enemorales; 04-19-2005 at 06:00 AM.
I use one partition mounted on /usr/local in all distros, and some apps can be installed there and run from any distro.
Now only one kind works like this with no problem at all: the commercial ones. This includes all games I bought, OpenOffice, AcrobatReader and Opera. Sylpheed is an exception, it also works perfectly.
Commercial distributors make sure they deliver everything needed, and obviously puts the libraries in installation directory.
Trying to get anything else to work like this will give you problems. Problems that might be possible to solve if you have the knowledge (or try hard to solve it and you'll get the knowledge needed! )
I also use one /home, this is really trickier because of differences in config-files as reddazz mentioned. Don't try it - at least not without a backup and plenty of time! In the worst case, you'll be unable to use the computer until problem is fixed.