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Old 01-16-2006, 08:21 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2006
Distribution: Slackware
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What is a good general installation methodology?

I'd like to know if any of you have a general method that you consistently use for installing new and upgraded products under Linux.

For example, do you tend to keep your downloaded tar balls, or do you throw them away after an install? Do you have a common place you like to download them to? Do you hang onto the sources? What steps do you follow in the process of upgrading a piece of software?

Do you always upgrade packages while logged in as root? If you install or upgrade a package from a non-root signon, will everyone else who has an account on the system be able to use it? What if a non-root user installs a package while SU'd? Will the resulting installation work for all users, or will they have problems because of the owner and group ID that get associated with the files?

I'd like to upgrade my FireFox version from 1.0.4 to 1.5, and I want it to be usable for all four accounts on my system (root, plus three others). Next, I will do the same with Thunderbird. Then I'd like to get 1.4.2 of the JRM upgraded to 1.5.0 (or whatever is current). I figure if I establish a method for doing things the same way every time I'll eventually be able to install packages and upgrades with ease, get things to work right without too much fussing, and hopefully even understand what I'm doing. Maybe.

I'm a newbie. I guess what I'm looking for is some best practices advice. I realize that there are number of different ways to get a job done, so I'd just like to know how you old hands go about such tasks.
Old 01-16-2006, 08:38 PM   #2
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I keep my downloads on a DVD so I can get at them quickly if I do a clean install. I usually extract them to /usr/local/src and run the ./configure and make as an ordinary user. I keep the extracted sources on the hard disk so that I can get at ./configure options or customised settings.

The make install depends on the access that the program needs. Most things can be installed as a user. Usually as long as other users have read and/or execute rights to the installed program they will be fine. Data tends to get written to home directories rather than the installation directories. If I need to install something as root, I usually login as root rather than use su. That's a personal preference...

As far as problems installing as a user or su'ed you need to make sure that the account doing the install has write privileges to the install location.

Some people like to run ./configure && make and then a packaging tool to simplify uninstalls and make multiple installs easier.

Be consistent and write down what you do if it's not exactly the same as the README or INSTALL docs. I keep a run sheet of everything from partitioning to final config tweaks. It's a long doc now, but it's saved me a lot of sleepless evenings.
Old 01-16-2006, 08:49 PM   #3
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I tend to avoid tarballs if possible so I don't have to deal with dependencies.
Old 01-16-2006, 09:26 PM   #4
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I prefer tarballs, i like the insurance that my progs will work. Cause if something comes up during ./configure, then i can solve it. Cause i have had a few problems with my slackware tgz files installing but not working, usually a library
Old 01-18-2006, 01:22 AM   #5
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Ah... dependencies. I've discovered yum again. It didn't work right off the bat, and I had to update my yum.conf to make it work. I know there are other package updaters and resolvers out there, too, but not all work with different distros.

It seems like using yum or similar is a good way to keep your system up to date with new versions of packages that are available for your distro, but there might not always be an update available. So am I right that if you want an update that hasn't been packaged in the repositories yet, you must roll your own from an available tar file?

For example, I ran "yum update firefox", and it downloaded an available update and upgraded my 1.0.4 version to 1.0.7 without a glitch. No muss, no fuss. However, Firefox 1.5 is now available too, but yum didn't find it in the repository. So if I want to install 1.5 I must download the tar file, then untar and unzip it and then follow the install instructions provided. The latter is the case where I need a good methodology for doing the install. The instructions on the Mozilla Firefox site just say to untar it in the directory where you want it installed... wherever that is.

I think I'll download tar files like this to a common directory. Maybe back them up to DVD later if I decide I want to hang on to them for a while. Then copy the tar file to the directory where I want to extract it... wherever that is. I'll get there.


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