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Old 05-28-2004, 06:28 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 1

Rep: Reputation: 0
Question Using RPM fully on Debian

I am trying to install some software that is only distributed as a collection of .rpm files. As I use Debian GNU/Linux, I can and have installed the Debian RPM package itself. However, this package on Debian is "disabled" as it only exists as a helper for the "alien" tool.

My question is how to activate the full workings of RPM (perhaps temporarily) so that I can run rpm commands found in a script distributed with this non-Debian software.

My question is NOT:
(a) Why shouldn't I enable RPM / why I should use alien instead
(b) Why does Debian use dpkg/APT instead of rpm
(c) What Bad Things(TM) can happen to my system if I install to it using RPM w/o alien
(d) Why shouldn't I install non-Free software.

If a reader feels the knee-jerk compulsion to get up on a soapbox and do any single or combinatorial permutation on one of the above themes, please note that your impulse-control problem or lack of ability to read with interpretive comprehension is not MY problem and I won't acknowledge your rant.

That unpleasantness out of the way (hey, sorry, but I've seen it all ... been online for while now) ...

Here's some details about my system and the Plan.

- I am running Debian "Woody" on an Intel (i-x86) box
- I've configured rpm to regard the 'prefix' for all installs as '/usr/local'
- I want to build the rpm database in /usr/local/src/rpmroot

I cannot get this done - I try the following command as the superuser:

# rpm --initdb -vv --root /usr/local/src/rpmroot

and it fails with the error msg "error: cannot open Packages index using db3 - No such file or directory (2)".

Somehow I find it very hard to believe that there's never been anyone who figured out how to enable rpm fully under Debian.

Soren A

Update (1): 29 May 2004 2:20 EDT:
I figured out the failure cited above. I had misinterpreted the meaning of the switch '--root' ; I was looking for a way to create the directory that contains SOURCES, BUILD, SPECS, etc. but that isn't what '--root' does. It makes the entire process do a chroot(2) and the --initdb was therefore looking in a crazy non-existing place for where to create files.

The command that I wanted was more like this:

# rpm --initdb -vv --dbpath /usr/local/var/lib/rpm
Now that isn't all, by itself: creating customized files /etc/rpmrc and /etc/rpm/macros was also necessary to cause RPM to behave correctly in looking for things in these non-default locations. Haven't totally tested it yet, but so far it is looking good.

Last edited by perlspinr; 05-29-2004 at 01:32 PM.
Old 05-28-2004, 07:46 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
Distribution: ANY
Posts: 339

Rep: Reputation: 32
debian, gentoo, set up to use apt.........redhat , suse, mandrake, etc.....are setup for rpm........
it has a lot to do with installed packages structure......scripts.....and other things.....there is no simple answer to this.....
I would recommend you compare the directory structure and packages lists....and how the permissions are setup for the redhat package manager itself........also It wouldnt hurt to try a rpm distro out and watch the messages while installing a rpm ( using the verbose option tells alot).

I also wouldnt use the /usr directory at all for your database because of possible privilege escalation issues...........

I dont know what it is exactly that you want to accomplish......but .....its possible........


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