80x24.org misc. Free Software, open data formats/protocols discussion
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From: Eric Wong <e@80x24.org>
To: misc@80x24.org
Subject: ./configure --prefix=... for autotooled projects
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2015 22:39:24 +0000
Message-ID: <configure-prefix-for-autotooled-projects@20150419> (raw)

autoconf (and any build systems emulating the "./configure" build script)
support a nice --prefix= switch which allows you to install the software
to an easily writable section of your filesystem.

No need for containers, chroots, root access, or weird, package-specific
build/packaging scripts such as RVM (Ruby Version Manager).  Just set
PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH appropriately.

I can still link to system libraries provided by my GNU/Linux distro, or
I can pass additional arguments and use LD_LIBRARY_PATH/-Wl,-rpath as
necessary to point linkage to newer development versions as needed.

I do this for each project I want the latest revisions of and leave any
distribution-supplied installations untouched.

Sometimes I'll even configure the prefix to be /tmp/$SOMETHING if I
don't care about using something past a reboot :)

Fwiw, GNU/Linux distribution maintainers are likely to set --prefix=/usr
whereas the default is --prefix=/usr/local

And even non-autotooled build systems such as the default GNU Make-based
build system in git supports it.  Heck, git was probably the first
project I encountered to default the prefix to $HOME instead of
/usr/local

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