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RPM Utility: Can it Detect & Log Manually Installed Software?

Posted on 2000-03-23
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I manage software installation and upgrades on my Red Hat V6.0 box via RPM.

I was in the process of installing StarOffice, when I realized that there was no RPM package for SO on the CD provided (or anywhere else I know of, for that matter).

I can install SO via the ./install, but I have heard this creates problems down the line with future software installs, as RPM is only aware of files and packages that are installed via RPM.

My questions:

1) Will an rpm -rebuilddb enable RPM to sense sofware (files) not installed via an RPM package, and update it's files portion of it's database, to continue to detect dependancy/conflict problems?

2) If RPM does not have this capability, how are system administrators dealing with this problem?

Current wisdom seems to be:

1) use RPM exclusivly and wait for RPM's to be released for software, or

2) go with manual install all the way (which does not seem to be very efficient in an enterprise environment.).

Thanks experts!
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Question by:JimIntriglia
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Expert Comment

by:jlevie
ID: 2651457
As to (1), no I don't think so.

Use both, judiciously. If the package is available in rpm format, use it. If the package isn't, like for starofffice, then tell the install to put somewhere other than in the normal system area... /opt comes readily to mind. As long as what you are installing does all of its stuff into some directory of your choice outside of the normal system dirs and doesn't futz with anything else then there won't be conflicts down the road unless you install the same package from an rpm w/o removing the old stuff.

The same rules apply to stuff that you build from source, perhaps because there isn't an rpm for it anywhere, or you really need the lastest version, or you need a modified version. When ever possible you'd want to target the build to a place that won't conflict with the system. And you'd probably want to remove any existing versions that had been rpm'd in.

It's really all about thinking things out ahead of time.
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Expert Comment

by:jlevie
ID: 2651463
And I meant to say at the end...

It's really all about thinking things out ahead of time and documenting what you do, whether it be adding only rpm's or installing non-rpm things. What usually matters is that you know what a system is composed of and how it got that way.
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mixerfix122699 earned 100 total points
ID: 2652896
Hi,

As far as I know, there _is_ an RPM for StarOffice. IIRC, it is from SuSe, but it is in RPM format.

As for (1), if I understand RPM correctly (and I may not, I am using Debian) - non-RPM files will not be detected for conflict resolution by RPM.

(2) is fairly simple. There are at least two packages I am aware of that track installation of /usr/local stuff. One is _installwatch_, available from http://datanord.datanord.it/~pdemauro/installwatch (with, it seems, an RPM version available). I am sorry to say, I do not remember the other.

Go with RPM installs only if it is convinient and possible. It is not always possible.

An alternative route is to use RPM for the base system only and NFS mount everything local you create ;-).

It must be said that Debian, RH, SuSe, and Mandrake are pretty rich environments, you should have pretty much anything available from somewhere in RPM or DEB format ;-). YMMV
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Author Comment

by:JimIntriglia
ID: 2656755
Re: StarOffice RPM via Suse - I learned that the latest SuSe V6.3 release includes StarOffice V5.1a, but I'll be damned if I can find the RPM for it on the Suze ftp site:ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/6.3/full-names/i386/
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Expert Comment

by:mixerfix122699
ID: 2656857
it may be only included on the burned version... my workplace has a burned cd and there's and rpm on that.
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Expert Comment

by:mixerfix122699
ID: 2656867
i mean, of course, an official SuSe CD.
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Author Comment

by:JimIntriglia
ID: 2663823
Thanks mixerfix and jlevie for your response. I'll be checking out Installwatch and carefully documenting my system installs whether I use RPM or do it manually.

As nobody on the UseNet has been able to find the Suse RPM for Star online as well, I'll just manually install SO somewhere else (other then in the system area) so perhaps it will not screw-up RPM.

I'll be documenting anything else I learn re: RPM on these pages FYI:

http://www.jimintriglia.com/Library/notebook/linux/rhrpm.htm

http://www.jimintriglia.com/Library/notebook/linux/rh_rpm_q&a.htm

Thanks for you help and comments!
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