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Re: A "hard line" on users placing files on debian's "turf"?

Matt Welsh writes:

>Debian should follow the FSSTND at least, and be able to cope with
>people installing their own binaries in common places such as
>/usr/bin, etc.

I'm no FSSTND expert, but I'd like to know where in the FSSTND it
makes this requirement.  The closest relevant passage I can find is in
section 4.8 about /usr/local:

        Locally installed software should be placed within /usr/local
        rather than /usr unless it is being installed to replace or
        upgrade software in /usr.

(I'm using version 1.2 as found on ftp.debian.org.  If there is a more
recent version perhaps it should be updated.)

If an administrator follows this rule, then the only time they will
experience a clash is when installing a new version of the package
they patched.  Presumably they are doing this because it fixes
whatever problem they were trying to solve - indeed, if they submitted
a bug report then the package may even have been updated for precisely
that reason.

Ultimately, it's impossible to cope correctly with this, since only
the human knows which files need to be kept and which should be
overwritten on upgrade.

>If Debian won't permit people to easily build and install their own
>binaries in common directories on the system, then Debian is
>fundamentally broken.

/usr/local permits this - have I misunderstood what you mean by a
'common directory'?  I don't often snarf binaries (other than Debian
packages) off the net, but the few I have installed in /usr/local
rather than /usr.

>Don't be totalitarian; be flexible.

How do other systems cope with this?  How does, say, Slackware cope
with people randomly changing files in /usr/bin and then upgrading?
(I don't know Slackware at all.)

Richard Kettlewell
<richard@elmail.co.uk>                  http://www.elmail.co.uk/staff/richard/

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