Checking /usr/local/ before upgrading

Christofer C. Bell christofer.c.bell at
Wed Oct 31 14:57:58 UTC 2007

On 10/30/07, Jan Claeys <lists at> wrote:
> Op dinsdag 30-10-2007 om 10:46 uur [tijdzone +0100], schreef Vincenzo
> Ciancia:
> > I expected anything out of this thread, but people defending the idea
> > that keeping /usr/local/lib in the library path during system upgrades
> > is a good idea. I can accept to have problems *after* the upgrade, but
> > not to be left with an unusable system just because I had stuff in
> > /usr/local and that's my fault.
> Everyone can answer on this list with what is their personal opinion, so
> why are you surprised to to hear any particular opinion?   :)

>From the FHS document:

"The /usr/local hierarchy is for use by the system administrator when
installing software locally. It needs to be safe from being
overwritten when the system software is updated. It may be used for
programs and data that are shareable amongst a group of hosts, but not
found in /usr."[1]

If you rename it, move it, or otherwise get rid of it, you're
"overwriting" the contents of /usr/local.  You are "removing" it from
integration with the system.  The onus is on the system administrator
to test their software to ensure that it works with a new operating
system release.  If the system administrator doesn't do that, it's not
the fault of the operating system that the software doesn't work.  If
it's unknown if the software will work or the system administrator
wants to preserve /usr/local while not having it visible during the
upgrade, then they need to take care of that themselves before
performing the upgrade.

Are you suggesting the installer present a message saying something
like, "The contents of /usr/local may or may not be compatible with
this release.  Would you like to rename /usr/local to /usr/
now and verify compatibility later? [Yes] [No]"? While I don't have an
issue with that, will doing so break compatibility with the FHS?



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