Conventions? choice of install directory?

David Hart ubuntu at
Fri Nov 24 13:44:51 UTC 2006

On Fri 2006-11-24 09:34:27 +0000, ac wrote:
> After downloading something like realplayer 10 binary (note1), into an 
> initial download directory, I can run it either as user or with sudo. 
> As user, I think I have to install it into a location in the home/user 
> directories where user has write permissions, but with sudo presumably 
> I can choose an install directory anywhere (?)
> As it happens, using sudo, I chose to install 
> into/home/user/realplayer  which worked fine.
> However, during the installation process the sequence asked me
> if I wanted system wide symbolic links (I chose this)(note2) and asked me
> where it should put the symbolic links, suggesting   /usr which I 
> accepted.
> I am not very clear about the exact significance of these links, or 
> maybe links in general, but is there a more conventional or a more 
> elegant place for the installation directory, other than my present 
> choice of /home/user/realplayer?

I would place the binaries in something like /opt/realplayer10 so
that if you later wish to delete or upgrade the package, the files
are in one easily identifiable place.

The symlinks need to go somewhere in your $PATH (from a terminal type
'echo $PATH' to see it) so that the system can find the binaries,
wherever you install them.  My choice would be /usr/local as I prefer
to keep /usr under management by the packaging system (apt/dpkg).

> I do not really want to have an application in the user directory even 
> if it is owned by root. Should I have asked for the installation 
> directory to be in the /usr directory to start with?

As explained above, I think placing the binaries in their own directory
under /opt is better.

If you wish to reinstall realplayer I would go about it as follows:

  sudo mv /home/user/realplayer /home/user/realplayer.tmp

The above is so that you can be sure, when testing with the new
installation, that the system is not finding the old binaries.

IIRC, realplayer installs a symlink and a script into the $PATH so, to
get rid of them do:

  mkdir /home/user/tmp
  cd /usr/bin
  sudo mv realplay realplayer /home/usr/tmp/

The above is not strictly necessary as /usr/local usually comes before
/usr in your $PATH.

Now you can reinstall realplayer but choose /opt/realplayer10 for the
binaries and /usr/local for the symlinks.

If everything is fine after installation you can remove the temporary
files in /home/user.

David Hart <ubuntu at>

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list