What are the best methods to install software packages?
I have SuSe 10.0 and, so far, have used only YaST to install software packages. I am hesitant to try other methods lest they cause problems with my desktop.
Am I likely to run into problems if I try to install from an RPM?
Am I likely to run into problems if I build the package and install it from the shell?
rpms are quite easy to use.
you juste need to download the rpm and you can install it by typing (as root)
rpm -i package.rpm
the only problem are the dependancies.
It is possible that, if you attempt to install package 1, it will reply that it needs before packages 2, 3, 4 ... So you install package 2, and it ass you for packages 5 and 6... Sometimes this can ast, but usualy it's not a big deal.
Of course there are othr more convenient systems. For example, apt-get (Debian), or emerge (Gentoo) automatically download and installa all the dependancies in a single step.
It all depends on how well configured the RPM/sourceball is, and how well you install it.
Per Filesystem Hierachy Standard, the user (i.e. root) has *full* control over /usr/local (and some other //local subtrees). So if you install your programs there, you should be on the safe side.
What I've found to also work, given that I'm running a single-user (i.e. one human) system is to grab the source into some fitting folder in my home directory, install the dependencies w. $PACKAGE_MANEGER (I use apt-get), build it in ~//, and just leave it there. It that case, it can't fudge up the system since it's only doing non-root stuff.
If you're really paranoid, you could add a user specifically for `home-built' programs.
I think your skepticism, even though it may be unjustified, is healthy. I hope this helps.
Generally you should stick with packages gotten through YAST. If you can't find something through YAST then you may need to either search internet for an RPM (which will be for another distro) or compile the program from source. Keep in mind that getting RPMs packaged for other distros like this is virtually guaranteed to cause dependency errors and the program may not work properly when you get it installed. Also, only do this for user applications - don't go replacing system components (kernel, glibc, gcc, X.org, KDE, GNOME etc.) with RPMs from other distros.
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