how to change dpkg installation directory?

Derek Broughton derek at
Wed Jun 17 17:15:39 UTC 2009

Tommy Trussell wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 8:34 AM, Bram Kuijper<a.l.w.kuijper at> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I want to change the default directory into which dpkg installs my
>> applications, since I have too little space on my rootdisk. However, I
>> changed the necessary configuration in /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg, but now
>> nothing will install anymore. What should I do?
> I'm not sure how to fix the problem you caused, but it's MUCH easier
> to fix the problem using symbolic links.

Or mount points - probably more appropriate.

> Look at the "space hogs" on
> your root disk and move them to another volume, then use a symbolic
> link to point to them in the other place while they maintain the same
> location in your file system. Of course you are concerned about
> applications but unless your root disk is tiny the applications are
> not usually the problem, but files that grow large during normal
> operation, such as in /var

Agreed.  I didn't even know that you _could_ change the installation 
directory, but this _really_ isn't what you want to be doing.  Actually, I'm 
not sure why your installation scripts are failing - because it says that 
dpkg chroots to the "instdir" directory before running the scripts, so I 
would expect all the installation scripts to work fine.  Unfortunately, it 
will leave your applications in places that are unexpected by all software 
other than dpkg.  This would be a Very Bad Thing.  The "instdir" option 
would be intended to make it possible to install a system that will be run 
entirely in a chroot, or even to install software onto _another_ system - 
definitely not what you are trying to do.

> Others with more proper training ...

Training?  You get trained to do this?  Well, I suppose the behavioral 
psychologists would call learning by trial and error, "training" :-)

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