[H-GEN] no /opt?

Ben Carlyle benc at foxboro.com.au
Fri Apr 7 00:28:28 EDT 2000

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On Fri, Apr 07, 2000 at 12:27:01PM +1000, Raymond Smith wrote:

> Does Debian usually have a '/opt'?[1] In the Linux world, where would I
> normally install an unpackaged binary distribution of an application?

Debian seems to consider anything that has a properly constructed package
to be core software.  Anything that doesn't have a package is non-core,
and should be installed in /usr/local or some other directory you like
the name of.  /opt is a possible choice :)  Debian's packaging is able to
handle some of the basic contentions and conflicts between packages with the
same files with some degree of sophistocation, so this treatment of the core
system is not necessarily a flawed view of the world.  I think traditionally
the reason for /opt is so that the entire "core system" as decided by the OS
manufacturer with little variation from machine to machine could easily be
replaced while leaving the optional and local zones to be compiled and setup
by sysadmins.  The improvement of packaging systems over time (from the old
fashioned tar-on-a-tape packages) has meant the lines between core and non-core
software could be softened.

So do as you will, if you can't get a package for it, or don't want to make
a package for it, then put it either in /opt, or /usr/local.  /usr/local has
the advantage under debian of usually having default user paths pointing into
/usr/local/bin already, negating the requirement of adjusting profiles.

> [1] Am I using Solaris too much?

Its packaging system leaves something to be desired, but it's not too bad.
It's good at complex operating system functions[1] that many free OS's can
at the moment only dream of, but it's still very old school in its


[1] Good filesystems with built-in software RAID solutions, nice clustering
    features, that sort of thing...

[2] Packaging is still very simplistic, many basic tools[3] are quite limited,
    and are not easily replaced by more advanced tools, forcing users to choose
    one or the other set earlier in their path... that sort of thing.

[3] sed, awk, etc... limitations such as a line may not containt more than a
    hundred or so characters... that sort of thing.  I'm in the mood for

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