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Installing Programs The Right Way


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#1 RandomUser

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 03:24 PM

So, the Idea for this one folks, is that Normally I just unzip a complete package and consider it good if it works. As in the previous Topic, I want to know more about how to install a program, yet I have more specific questions...

1, what's the best way to install a package?

Using tools like apt-get and yum? or unzip the files to the right location and Create links to the dependancies.
(In essence is it better to use a pakacage manger or tie it all together from scratch?)

2) Further more, what tools can I use to determine if my distro has all of the necessary dependancies for a particular software package or program, and when I know that information, where can I get the missing dependancies?

3) Does linux have a Master config file somewhere in it? Something like the registry in windows? or are things more specific to the applications themselves and independant of a large central config file?

4) What's the Deal with "Aliases" and "symbolic links"? I think that Aliases are the equivalent to a program Shortcut, but am not sure. What would one use either of these two items for?

In closing, it appears as though I've asked for a short tutorial on the subject of installing programs.
No single person need answer everything or provide a full tutorial, I'm just looking for the general answers that someone knows the most about. I hope to get a firm grasp on the idea of installing programs so that I get uniformity, ease of use,and performance gains.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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#2 kbk

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 12:41 PM

I have always used package managers except in special cases. I suppose it really just depends on what you're installing, if it's in the package managers directory, and if you want to take the time to install it yourself. Not too sure about questions 2 and 4, and I don't think there is a "master config" file, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

Edited by kbk, 25 February 2007 - 09:29 PM.

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#3 raw

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:33 PM

apt-get will install the dependencies you need for programs. That's the easiest way.
If you are installing from source then you come across "dependency hell" as
most people refer to it.
I use rpm find: http://rpmfind.net to search for dependencies that compiled
programs require. These are usually in the form of 'program-devel'.
The devel files are usually what is needed for non-packaged programs to
compile and work properly.
As far as a master config file - No. All of your configuration is in the /etc
directory and contains the .conf files for most all programs that run in Linux.
Now OTOH the rc files contain the scripts that start all the stuff needed at boot time.
(networking, xorg for example) You can look through through the rc folders and see
what scripts run at boot.
Alias is just a way to tell your evironment to use an alias for another command.
such as ls -al will list all files in a directory. Most distros I use have "Alias ls -al=ll"
so to get the long listing of all files just type ll. Some people coming from Windows
will alias 'dir' to the ls command for convenience.
Sym links are a closer match to a Windows shortcut.
Hope all that helps.

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#4 RandomUser

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 10:02 PM

ok, b/c i like to be difficult.

Is it possible to create a sym link form the command line?

also, I was hoping there was a BASH tool for checking dependancies. I thought I had used one at one point?


Notice a theme. I love BASH.

#5 raw

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 03:22 PM

Yes. To create a soft link:
ln -s /path/to/file linkedfile
And dependency checking:
rpm --whatrequires new.rpm

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#6 RandomUser

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:47 PM

rpm --whatrequires new.rpm


so, I would:

rpm --whatrequires PackageName.rpm

In the example, it would be literally, rpm --whatrequires and the Actual name of the package? As i displayed above

#7 arcman

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 12:27 AM

I loves me some apt-get.
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#8 tacm

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 10:37 AM

I loves me some apt-get.

2nd that :flowers: :thumbsup:
The day that Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck, Is the day they start making vacuum cleaners.

#9 RandomUser

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 11:45 PM

is the

rpm -whatrequires new.rpm


specific to Distro's using RPM? or does that work with other package managers?

Also, what steps would one take to compile from source?

#10 raw

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 07:43 PM

Yes,RPM is RedHat Package Manager and is specific to
rpm distros. (redhat,mandriva) It won't work on a
Debian system becuase they use .deb packaging. (i never used a debian
based distro)
Compiling from source means you download the program (usually a .tar.gz or just .tgz)
After uncompressing and untarring you will have a directory with all the source
files for the new program. 'cd' into the directory and in "most" cases you just need to:
./configure (you will see some output as the program configures itself to your system)
make (this will start the actual compiling process - 'making" the program)
su to the root user and do:
make install (to install the progam and add it's conf files to the /etc directory)

See now isn't that easier then double clicking,clicking OK 5 times and rebooting twice? :thumbsup:

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#11 RandomUser

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:01 PM

Untarring? was that a seperate process, or only if that needs to be done?

What can go wrong when compiling from Source?

#12 raw

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:50 AM

Untarring is done at the same time as uncompressing.
'tar zxvf newprogram.tgz' ( is what you would type, without the quotes)
What can go wrong?
The configure script may not find what it needs.
make may fail to compile due to missing libraries (libs).
At that point you get errors on the screen telling you what failed and
you find the libs or decide if the program is really worth all the trouble.

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#13 RandomUser

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:02 PM

Well that sounds, bleeping Fantastic.


But thanks for the additional info




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