Question @ 10,000 feet

DJ Lucas dj at
Wed Nov 19 02:30:24 PST 2008

Simon Geard wrote:
> On Wed, 2008-11-19 at 09:24 +0000, Alan Lord wrote:
>> That's interesting. Do you mean that DESTDIR actually affects the 
>> contents of some files when you run "make DESTDIR=/my_path install"?
>> I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that it merely changed the 
>> destination path for the "root" of the install process, but kept in tact 
>> the paths of --prefix and other switches that were applied during the 
>> configure.
> Yes, it does merely change the destination path. But doing so might be
> the difference between creating a new file, and adding to an existing
> one. No specific example comes to mind, 

/usr/share/info/dir is most common, until you get past X, and get into 
gconf, desktop file utils, etc.  But yes, make install *can* and does 
modify existing files.  Simply copying from the DESTDIR to the final 
destination will result in a broken system (though it's probably not 
that difficult to recover if you keep good backups or logs).

> but suppose two packages append
> entries to a file /etc/whatever. Installed normally, you'll have one
> file with two entries. Installed with separate DESTDIRs, you'll have two
> different files at DESTDIR1/etc/whatever and DESTDIR2/etc/whatever.
> Simon.

-- DJ Lucas

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