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Old 01-27-2009, 03:26 PM   #1
arunlfc
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Question Query about software installation in linux


Hello all.
When programs are installed in windows, the self-extractor copies the program files to a specific folder (C:\Program Files) and makes changes as necessary to the system.
I would like to know what exactly happens when packages are installed in linux.

Thanks,
Arun
 
Old 01-27-2009, 03:40 PM   #2
indienick
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Well, it is essentially the same process - except, in Windows (because it is a strictly-regimented platform) you are just copying over pre-compiled binaries.

In the lowest-form of software installation, on UNIX and Linux, you - the user - compile the software setting things like which directories you want the executables to do, the documentation, the shared libraries, etc.

When you encounter a package management system like Debian's DEB, Red Hat's RPM, Slackware's TGZ or PC-BSD's PBI, the software has already been compiled with regimented settings like where the documentation goes, the executables, etc.

I do not know if you can do this with RPM-based systems (Red Hat, Fedora, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, etc.) but on DEB-based systems (Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) there is an option within the graphical package-management front-ends (like Synaptic) to see where the files in those packages will be placed.

The basic thing to remember when learning UNIX and Linux: It's probably a lot simpler than you think.
 
Old 01-27-2009, 04:41 PM   #3
johnsfine
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There are three basic approaches to software installation in Linux. Some Linux software (I think the Mozilla products) are available all three ways. Others (such as nVidia drivers) are only available the first way. Most are available by both the second and third ways. Obscure or very new programs tend to be available only the third way.

1) Same basic idea as in Windows: An executable installer is run the self extracts all the files to wherever they need to go, and makes whatever other changes are needed. Very few Linux programs have this type install. Windows users tend to expect it, but once you're used to method (2) you see why it is better.

2) A package manager program keeps track of which packages are installed, and handles downloading and installing the ones you request.

3) The software is distributed in source form with scripts for compiling and installing it. You manually download it (as in method 1) then follow a few instructions, usually manually extracting it from an archive file, then manually starting a configure script that asks you details about customizing the software, then manually starting a build script that compiles and links it, then manually starting an install script that finally installs it.

Last edited by johnsfine; 01-27-2009 at 04:46 PM.
 
Old 01-27-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
johnsfine
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accidental double post deleted

Last edited by johnsfine; 01-27-2009 at 04:43 PM.
 
  


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