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Old 09-20-2007, 03:38 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2005
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Installing current release software on older systems.

I guess this is really something I want other people to comment on because I myself get frustrated to no end in these situations. You're tasked with installing a current release of some piece of software on a system with outdated libs and such (say RHEL3 for example).

You download the source because you either can't find rpms or the rpms don't allow you to install into a non-default location, only for ./configure to spit out errors saying you need >= of some primary library release. Only you go and find that lib and it of course requires updated versions of 4 or 5 different things that your system doesn't have.

And of course one of those requires some obscure library that google has no idea about. With this all said and done, you get to start make on the offending app, only for it to crap out on some hard to understand error 15 minutes later.

Does anyone actually enjoy this process? Does anyone find this easier than me? Cuz I hate it for all its worth. Or does anyone even bother on these older systems? Is it just impossible to do in some cases? Thought please.
Old 09-20-2007, 06:06 PM   #2
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In some cases, it's close to impossible (at the very least extremely impractical).

Typically, the best option is to use something from a "backports" type repository where someone else already figured out how to make the program compile against the old libraries.

Additionally you can try using something like Autopackage or klik which try to package all the needed libraries with each program you install. That way you don't have the dependency problems. You suffer in speed though because you're not sharing libraries (they get loaded once for say the desktop, and then again for the application).

Short of that, I run Debian and upgrading has been pretty easy (I've successfully dist-upgraded from Woody --> Sarge --> Etch without any problems) on my old box, a Celeron 400 MHz w/ 256MB RAM. The trick is to keep the bloat down and only install the packages I need. That way I can just install fairly current software when I need it...
Old 09-21-2007, 10:43 AM   #3
Registered: Dec 2005
Posts: 46

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Thanks for the reply. I figured it was something along those lines. Most of the time I can make it through my said process but occasionally it just gets beyond my ability, time, and patience. In fact, I've suspended two requests for software installs due to this very issue lately. I'll be pushing for an upgrade to our environment and it will be something that is definitely recent.

When I do these software installs, it's actually to an NFS share on NAS hardware and so is available to all workstations and servers. I really try to sandbox some of these requests with their own libs and such anyways because we've had some issues in the past where there have been conflicts with the systems themselves. Anyways, I'm glad it's not just me that is the problem for these situations. ;P


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