Subject: Re: Packages (Re: xntpd)
To: Jesus M. Gonzalez <>
From: Geir Inge Jensen <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/05/1996 09:51:46
> >
> >The structure you suggest (putting everything belonging to one package in a
> >single dir) seems reasonably to me, too. Using pkg_tools won't be a problem
> >this way, but you'll have to provide some methods so users don't have to
> >maintain a list of directories for $PATH, $MANPATH, etc. for themselves.
> 	Now we are dealing with that using two methods:
> 	1. Links in /usr/local/bin, /usr/local/man, etc. That way,
> when you upgrade to a new version of a package, just grep in that
> directories looking for references to the old /usr/local/install/foo,
> delete them, and make new symlinks. That can be easily automated.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel - have a look at 'Store', A System for
Third Party Software Installation and Maintenance. I love it, and as a
consequence, I don't use /usr/local anymore. We have also used it here at
the University for a while, and it works great. 

I admit that 'store' is intended to be used in large installations, with
file-servers serving multiple platforms. However, it organizes everything so
well, that I have chosen to use it on my stand-alone NetBSD i386.

>From the 'store' documentation:

What is STORE?

Store is a concept for handling third-party programs under Unix. 

The goal of STORE is to give administrators and users a framework that: 

     - provides a clear view on each single application, 
     - is transparent to users, 
     - allows handling several versions of one program, 
     - keeps information on local modifications, 
     - eases cooperation and sharing of applications between several
       organizations with different computer usage patterns, 
     - eases equivalent installation of programs between different
       hardware/software platforms, and 
     - lets administrators choose which applications to make available on
       each machine, so single applications may be added
     - and removed as needed. 

To provide these features, STORE is a set of programs, supporting a central
concept on how to organize software installation. The central concept is:

     - All files belonging to one single application should be kept
       together in one single directory tree. 
     - For each collection of machines in organizations in a cooperating
       STORE environment, there should be one and only
     - one such master directory for each application. 
     - An application may need some architecture dependent files, and some
       independent files. In STORE, an application has
     - several versions of architecture dependent files, and one common
       version of each architecture independent file. 
     - To ensure availability and acceptable access speed, the application
       packages should be automatically distributed to
     - local copies, enabling automatic propagation of changes in the
       original version. 
     - A virtual directory tree with symbolic links weaves together the
       multitude of packages, creating a "normal" tree for
     - the end-user and ensuring simple use of programs. 

For those who are interested in looking at store, you will find more
information at Now -
this URL is old, and has not been updated for a looong time. Store has gone
through substantial improvements since then.

Version 2.2 of the store document can be found at 

I encourage you to give it a try. If you are using it on all software (like
me) you will find that it gives you the control you want over all packages. 

Geir Inge Jensen                               Department of Computer Science
                                               University of Tromsų, Norway
URL  :            Phone: +47 77 64 57 47