Package/Build-From-Source Management

Toby Kelsey toby_kelsey at
Wed Jun 14 12:37:16 UTC 2006

bivanda at wrote:

> I'd likewise like to join, and apologize if the following is found to be slightly OT - but there seems to be a number of you with familiarity of the subject in this thread, and someone might provide us with a beneficial comment or pointer:
> Ours is an engineering outfit that produces a fair bit of our own application packages, mostly for internal use. We are looking at migrating from Windows to either Linux (Ubuntu high on the list...) or Mac OSX. Apple's hardware cost and, even more, the highly proprietary software development environment is working against it. However, we find OSX application packaging and deployment model to be vastly superior to Linux's: we are simply not prepared to package and maintain multiple, distribution- and release-specific application packages, just as we are not prepared to be locked into a specific Linux distribution: this we would find just as unpalatable as our current situation of being locked into MS Windows.
> We are therefore looking into alternative application packaging and (internal) distribution models for Linux, along the following principles:
> - Define a minimum level of OS requirements and create application packages that statically link everything else.
> - Any application that has no need to interact with hardware and kernel (and we have very little need of that) should require no root access to be deployed or executed. Such application should not write anything into any system file or directory. 
> - Ideally, an application should be capable of running from read-only removable media or network storage - writing only to the user-preferences and application data files in the user's file tree.

If you need a non-root install-on-demand-from-the-network approach, perhaps
zero-install <> would do it?
It apparently works with Ubuntu ( but I've not 
used it.  It needs to cache files in /var/cache/ which may not be acceptable, 
and I don't know how its package creation system compares to apt.


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