[Off-topic] Re: Best windows installer?

Richard A. O'Keefe <>
Fri Jul 7 08:31:42 CEST 2006

Romain Lenglet <> wrote:
	If you don't have root access, or if your administrator has not 
	given you enough sudo(1) rights, then your administrator should 
	be willing to help you install the software that you need to do 
	your work.

On the UltraSPARC II box that I use, my sysadmin made a /users/local
directory with lots of space for me to play with.  As long as software
lets me "waltz" with a 
    ONE    ./configure --prefix=/users/local
    TWO	   make
    THREE  make install
I can use it.

On the MacOS X box that I use, I have a $HOME/local directory,
and as long as software lets me "waltz" with a
    ONE   ./configure --prefix=$HOME/local
    TWO   make
    THREE make install
I can use it.  That's because I have the developer tools installed.
Too much potentially useful Mac software assumes
(1) You do not have the developer tools, so you have to install binaries;
(2) You DO have root access, so stuff can be placed in /Applications and
That stuff I cannot install (which is why I don't have SML on my Mac).
Other software assumes I can use something called fink, which again
assumes that I have root access so stuff can be placed in /usr/local
and so on.  That stuff I cannot install either.

	If he is not willing to help, and then you have no 
	way to install software correctly (i.e., using the OS's 
	packaging system if there is one, and respecting standards such 
	as the LSB and the FHS), then that system administrator should 
	be fired.
You have forgotten the third alternative:

    - user cannot install (because stuff would have to go into
      directories the user does not have permission to change)
    - sysadmin is WILLING to help
    - sysadmin is seriously snowed under with other higher-priority work.

We have ONE Macintosh expert to look after all staff and student Macs in
this department, AND she has other jobs to do as well.  We also have ONE
Unix expert.

There are very pleasant MacOS X programs, like the ICab web and Amaya
browsers and Ambrai and Squeak Smalltalk and OpenOffice which are or
contain binaries but let you put them anywhere.

	Stated otherwise, if you can't use the packaging system of your 
	OS to install and upgrade software (even if this would require 
	that you ask your administrator to do so), it is not a technical 
	problem, but it is a human and managerial one. Don't expect a 
	technical solution to solve this problem.
The managerial problem is the fundamental one.

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