Proper Location for Linux Builds

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Apr 29 10:56:35 EDT 2009


You will find bits of a typical Linux program all over the place, so no,
there is not any place which corresponds to the Program Files directory. 
This is why your distribution typically comes with a package manager, and a
repository.  The package manager will download all the bits that a given
program needs (the so-called 'dependencies'), check for conflicts, and it
will then install them all in the right places, which may vary from
distribution to distribution.  

You'll always find something in /usr/bin.  But what you find there is not
really 'the program' in the Windows or Mac sense, its mostly not all that
the program needs to have on your computer to run.

This is because there often is no such thing as 'the program' in the windows
sense.  The program will be a chunk of code which uses other chunks of code,
library files and so on. 

As an example, suppose you want to install a given KDE program - kwriter,
and suppose you have installed no other KDE programs up to now.  If you look
at the binaries for kwriter you find they are quite small.  But when you go
to install it through the package manager, you find that 100 Mbytes or so is
coming down.  Then when you look in /usr/bin you see only one small file for
kwriter.  What happened?  Where did all the rest of that stuff go, and what
was it?  Well, to work, it needed a lot of other stuff, the package manager
got it all for you, put it in all the right places.  And also put kwriter in
usr/bin and probably did some menu entries while it was at it.  Its not a
right description of what happened to say that 'the program' was installed
in the Linux equivalent of 'Program Files', its just that it is called
/usr/bin.  That's not a useful way of looking at what happened.

The same underlying phenomenon is why when you do a system update on Debian
you find yourself getting and installing hundreds or thousands of files. 
You are updating all the applications on the system as well as what, in
Windows terms, you would think of as the OS.

So where to put Rev?  Or programs you have written in Rev?  They are
different.  They aren't part of the distribution.  They really can go in a
program folder which contains all they need for them to run (besides the OS
proper).   

It depends if there will only be one user.  In that case, put it in that
user's home directory.  

If any user account on the computer is to have access to it, put it in /opt. 
Make sure that the privileges are correctly set for whichever use you have
in mind.  In most file managers, right click > properties to set them.  Then
put links to the programs in a launcher to save the user having to enter the
full file path every time. 

Hope this helps.  I am not a real Linux guru by the way, so corrections from
the better informed are welcome if its misleading.

Peter





Derek Bump - Dreamscape Software wrote:
> 
> Hello All,
> 
> I've been experimenting with my Enterprise License on Linux and I've run
> into a mystery (to me, anyways).  Where is the default location for
> programs?
> 
> On Windows it's the "Program Files" directory.  On the Mac it's the
> "Applications" folder.  Does Linux have such a default folder?
> 
> Thanks!
> 
> 
> Derek Bump
> Dreamscape Software
> http://www.dreamscapesoftware.com
> 
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