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Re: Apt-get for users

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On Sat, 05 Apr 2003 21:55, Thomas Petazzoni wrote:

> My idea is to allow the user to use the packaging system.
> Of course, we need to think about it a little more, about security
> problems, disk space usage problems and so on, but I think this is a
> nice idea.

You won't have problems with security or disk space are problems.  Unix file 
permissions, and standard quota systems handle both of these well.

However you will have problems.  Firstly I would forget about using binary 
packages (apt-get) and instead use apt-src.  There are far too many 
applications that need to be configured at compile time. 

Beyond that it isn't too bad.  Have a look at fink (fink.sourceforge.net).  I 
manage a patch to fink that allows it to work entirely in $HOME.  Actually, 
the patch on sourceforge is suffering from bitrot somewhat, but I could 
update it if requested -- it works perfectly on my boxen.  This patch allows 
a user to type fink install tetex and have the source downloaded, compiled 
and installed.  I had a go at porting fink back to i386, but it was a bit 
more work than I had hoped and I went back to more productive work.

Dpkg won't be a problem either, you will find it has various options to 
disable setuid bits, ignore being run without root, and it happily runs with 
a prefix to what it considers /var.  The patches fink and I do to dpkg will 
show you how to do this.

Your problem will be with debian package maintainers who have, like their fink 
counterparts, assumed installation by root.  Quite a number of postinst, 
prerm, etc. scripts are broken entirely for non-root installation, even when 
the package can be happily installed by $USERwithout the debian patches.    
As an example, on my OS X box I have commands su, chown, chgrp, install and a 
couple others in my $HOME to avoid these buggy scripts.

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