What user?

Richard Lightman richard at nezumi.plus.com
Fri Nov 22 01:48:07 PST 2002

* Bruce Dubbs <bdubbs at swbell.net> [2002-11-22 09:15]:
> Brian Auld wrote:
> >In general, do I run installations in the BLFS book as root?
> >
> Generally yes.  The programs are mostly system programs that need to be 
> owned by root.  Some programs could be installed by a normal user, but 
> then only that user would have access.
The instructions in BLFS-BOOK assume 'make install' is run as root.
Very few programs need to be owned by root. The only time it is
neccessary is if the setuid bit is set.

On a normal setup, an ordinary user cannot install software in the
standard directories because those directories are not writable by
normal users.

(Unless root has gone to some trouble to prevent it - ) normal users
can install programs the are executable by any user. These programs
will have to be in the installer's home directory, or some other
directory where he has write permission such as /var/tmp/.

Almost all software can be configured and compiled by an ordinary user
without changing the instructions. If you want to install as a non-root
user, you have two broad choices:

Create an account with write access to /{{,usr/}{lib,{,s}bin},usr/share}
and a few other directories, then correct any suid and sgid programs by

Use 'make DESTDIR=/var/tmp/install install', copy the resulting tree
into place as root and then correct any suid and sgid programs by hand.
This method requires real work as many programs use some alternative
name for DESTDIR, and some require help to work this way (mostly
something like 'mkdir -p /var/tmp/install/usr/share/man/man{1,5}'.)

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