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Greetings. My question is probably best asked as an example.
I have just installed Linux (I don't think it matters much which distro). Everything is working as I expected from things I have read. I can access different drives/partitions, printer, internet and so on. I decide I want to run the program Seti@Home. So I download it.
Where do I download it to? Does it matter if I put it in /home or maybe stick it in /etc/what-the-hell-is-this/docs?
When I do have it downloaded and I decide to install it, does it know where to install?
Seti is an example. I know how to make it run. The questions are for any app/program I might decide to download or install from whatever source.
I think I know the answer but would prefer to be sure. I have searched for an answer in this forum and others as well as reading quite a bit of HOW TO's. If the answer was there then I am dimmer than even I imagined.
"Where do I download it to? Does it matter if I put it in /home or maybe stick it in /etc/what-the-hell-is-this/docs?"
Download it to wherever you want within /home/user. You should not download to /etc or any other directory which needs root permissions because it is bad security to allow any program accessing the Internet to have root access.
"When I do have it downloaded and I decide to install it, does it know where to install?"
when compiling from source (btw. yes it does matter what you are using, and either way it would have been quicker to tell us that say it didn't matter ), the configure script will have standard defaults. you just don't install programs in /etc... it just wouldn't happen. you can unpack source wherever you want, but that's not where it will run from. if you were to want a program to run from somewhere non-standard you would need to pass the location as a parameter to the configure script.
but if you are on fc3, then you can just install by RPM, and there it is utterly irrelevant where you download to. the rpm app will install where it is told to. then you can delete whatever you downloaded.
These are exactly the things I needed to hear. I understood that an RPM puts things where they need to be but other apps that you download and remove from archive I wasn't sure of.
I did not know that the distro DOES make a difference. I assumed all Linux distro's used basically the same file structure. Guess I have a lot more reading to do. I am currently trying Fedora Core 3 x86_64.
into a terminal - the result will tell you which directories your distro will look in when you run a command or app. It is a reasonably sensible idea to have your programs install to one of these, but as the others have mentioned, you don't have to by any means. But if you don't, then you'll have to specify the complete path to the app when you want to run it. Also, to find out which directory an app is installed in, try "which appname" in a terminal.
Originally posted by Evil Elvis I did not know that the distro DOES make a difference. I assumed all Linux distro's used basically the same file structure. Guess I have a lot more reading to do. I am currently trying Fedora Core 3 x86_64.
Actually, all Linux distros do use "basically the same file structure." It's the *non-basic* things that will get you. And of course, the user *can* put things wherever he/she want's to, really.
With RedHat/Fedora, use RH rpms whenever practical - it will save a lot of headaches. When you *need* to build from source, download to "/home/<user>/<whatever>", and install to some consistent place, like "/usr/local/bin". Just make sure the path is in your PATH variable.