Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on users-install software

Read an interesting FAQ writeup on user-installed software found on Linux Format Aug 09. I thought I summarise the article in my own words.

I think as most system administration will encounter this scenario quite frequently especially in a academic environment that users wants to install software of their own. How do we cope with this?

Suggestion 1: Building from Source
I think one of the easiest method is to simply allow users to install from source file. The users can unpack the source and configure, make and make install. For example:

$ ./configure --prefix=$HOME
$ make
$ make install

(which will install directories like bin, lib and share to the user's home directory)

Suggestion 2: If using RPM, you can use some prefix
$ rpm --prefix=/home/user/local --otheroptions
(and adding an entry to sudoers with sudo)

However, there are some issues as many packages are NOT relocatable and have to be installed to the path that was given when they are compiled.

Suggestion 3: Allowing restricted sudo access
If you allow users to install onto system directories, you can give them restricted rights like installing without removing.

No comments: