sourceinstall is a fully featured source package management tool. It automates configuration, compilation, installation, tracking and removal of source packages, using the common procedures used to install Unix software.
This document was produced for version 0.5 of sourceinstall.
This is an introduction for real beginners of source installation. If you are already somewhat experienced with UNIX-like systems and GNU source code install procedures, you should skip this chapter, otherwise
sourceinstall will try to make configuration, compilation, installation and removal of source packages easier for you as a beginner.
Instead of hiding information and operations from you, everything that happens will be available for you to see.
This way, if you are interested you can hopefully understand basic concepts by just looking at the commands executed by this program in the information frame.
Provided your system meets the requirements, and thus you manage to have a working installation of sourceinstall itself, you will be shortly able to install new software from its source code by surfing the web, identifying a Free Software you like, downloading its SOURCE package, and feeding it to GNU Source Installer.
If you have a fast internet connection, proceed to download sourceinstall-0.5-fullpack.sh or a newer version, and mark where the file will be placed (the “folder”, the directory). You must have the permission to write in that directory. For example, we will assume that you are downloading to
After the download completes, start a console session. Your desktop environment should include a button, picture, or menu item that refers to a “shell”, “terminal” or “console”.
After the console is open, you should see a brief message ending in $; this message will be represented here by a single dollar character, and you shall NOT type that character as part of the commands.
Reach the directory you just downloaded your file in, by typing in the shell this command, followed by a RETURN:
$ cd /home/user/downloads
where of course /home/user/downloads is the directory in which you downloaded the file.
If you get an error message, double check your command for typos. If things are going well, you will know because you will get nothing else than another $ ended message (a prompt).
At this point, you can decide if you want to install as the super-user (root), or using your ordinary account.
Installing as root is more indicated for system-wide installs. To do so, type
$ su (Enter your root password)
At this point run the installer by typing:
$ /bin/sh sourceinstall-0.5-fullpack.sh
wait for the package to extract (this might take some minutes on slow or loaded systems), and follow the instructions. After being asked some simple questions, hopefully you will get a working installation of the GNU Source Installer. Mark the executable name that is showed at the end of the procedure, because that is the program that you need to run to start the installer.
This setup procedure installs in a subdirectory of your home directory by default if you are using an ordinary account. In particular, by default the installation prefix (the directory subtree in which to install) is ~/usr, where ~ represents your home directory.
If you are using a root account, then the setup procedure will instead use /usr/local as the default prefix. This is a common prefix for system-wide installs.
If you have a fast internet connection and want the easiest install, you can skip the rest of this section, and jump to the “Troubleshooting” section if you experiece any problems during installation.
If you are a bit more daring, instead, you can try a normal source release.
The releases whose names end in -fullpack are many megabytes in size, because they contain all the major dependencies in source form, and it could be that you already have the required packages.
You can fetch the much smaller sourceinstall-0.5.tar.gz (or other version). We will assume the same destination directory as above for the download.
At this point enter the following command (this assumes you have the GNU version of tar):
$ tar -zxvf sourceinstall-0.5.tar.gz
or, if you do not have the GNU version of tar (f.e. Solaris):
$ gunzip sourceinstall-0.5.tar.gz $ tar -xvf sourceinstall-0.5.tar
Note that you can use the tabulation (TAB) character to complete names. Experiment with pressing (TAB) around the middle of the file name.
All the files you'll see are being extracted from the archive, and a new directory is being created in the current one. At the end type:
$ cd sourceinstall $ ./configure
A lot of output will be showing at this point. The software is being configured (adapted) for your system. If everything runs smooth, you will see at most WARNINGs but no ERRORs. After a while you will get the familiar dollar, and now you can write:
Some output will be shown, then again the familiar prompt. And now:
$ su (Enter your root password) # make install
su, you will be asked for your root password.
You should have set your root password during your Operating System initial setup. If you do not know, try pressing ENTER.
The # character before
make install denotes the fact that after
su you have gained root privileges. Since you are done, drop your root privileges by typing
Each time you want to run GNU Source Installer from the console, type:
To run it from the graphical environment, you should create some kind of “shortcut” or “link” to the program on your desktop or in your program menus. The program to launch is (assuming a root installation and default values) /usr/local/bin/sourceinstall .
If you experience errors that prevent the correct installation and execution of the program, the next section tries to deal with these cases.
At the end of the procedure you will get the following files installed:
To consult the GNU Source Installer manual type
$ info sourceinstall
If you want a brief overview of program invocation and options, you can consult the traditional man page by issuing
$ man sourceinstall
If you could not install GNU Source Installer, this is most likely because you do not have the required software in your system. In other cases, it could be a bug in the installation procedure.
For the -fullpack releases, it is most likely the second (the special -fullpack release is meant to install without dependency errors).
If you need to report a bug that prevented the correct installation of a -fullpack, please provide all the files ending in .log and .err that are generated during the procedure.
To find all these .log and .err files, after getting the error during installation, look in the directory in which you ran the procedure. In our example, it was:
You should find a sourceinstall-fullpack directory there. It is a directory created during installation, that is removed after the operation and only if it completed correctly. In your case, if you have an error during the procedure, the directory will still be there. That directory should contain many files whose names end in .err and .log . These are the files to attach to your bug report. As always, report your bugs to email@example.com .
If you are using a normal release (not a fullpack), look at the output of
./configure, instead, and you will see if some needed programs have not been found on your system.
The most blocking thing is if you miss tcl, Tk or Expect: in this case
./configure will exit with an error, and make will not be able to run.
If this is your case, you will need to install tcl, tk and/or expect (or try the -fullpack release instead). If you have your OS installation disk(s), chances are that the software is available there, and is installable using the OS specific installation system.
Otherwise you should fetch and build the Tcl, Tk and Expect source packages. You can fetch Tcl and Tk from http://sourceforge.net/projects/tcl/, while Expect is available at http://expect.nist.gov/ . They are a bit tricky to install, so if you cannot find your way out of them, you can always revert to the -fullpack release.
If you succeed in building a working Tcl/Tk/Expect environment, restart the procedure from
./configure and things should be better.
If you miss any of the other helper programs, only the particular functionality offered by that program will be missing (a WARNING will be shown).
This is a comprensive list of programs that GNU Source Installer uses, from the most important ones, to the really secondary:
If you still have problems, you can write an email to the sourceinstall users mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for help. Something that can help a lot is reporting the full output of
Feedback of any sort is also welcome. Good luck, and I hope this helps :)
GNU Source Installer (sourceinstall) is a complete source package management tool, that handles source package configuration, installation, tracking and removal, information querying and export.
It is intended to work on modern Unix-like systems (with
GNU/Linux as a primary target).
This is a tool intended for the user, not for developers: it has nothing to do with package creation. It helps people install and manage software packages in source form.
The user installs new source packages by browsing the web, downloading a source package (in .tar.gz or other formats), and then feeding it to the source installer.
There are two different ways to interact with sourceinstall: a Tk graphical interface, and a command-line driven, non-interactive interface.
If you already build most of the software on your system from source code, you might try sourceinstall nonetheless. Here is what this software offers to the experienced user:
even if you have no problems building from source code, you can use sourceinstall as a way to centralize and better organize your source installations.
that should satisfy the needs of many. The GUI interface also shows all output of the underlying command line tools called, and displays information about installed packages and available actions and preferences, so nothing will be hidden from you. The command line interface and the GUI are functionally equivalent.
Scripts can interface with GNU Source Installer at the executable level, by using the command line interface.
with info about install size, source size, and all files relevant to each package.
Yes, you can build everything from source directly using ./configure, make, make install, but sourceinstall helps you remember which configure parameters you used back then to configure that package, helps you after installation by tracking the executable to run, the available documentation, etc from a handy file list, offers editable package descriptions, and other features.
If a file associated with an installed package goes missing, then (Tk interface) clicking on the package will prompt the problem, and mark the missing file with big warnings. If you can not solve the issue yourself by restoring the file, you can ask for a fresh reinstallation by clicking “Reinstall”. The command line --check and --install actions can be used for the same goal.
The program will issue warnings if the package offers only a very spartane build system, or does not correctly honor common Makefile targets and features.
You will be able to get notified of warnings and errors from
make, and all other programs.
The program performs crosschecks between make uninstall results and internal information available on individual packages (gathered during the install process in a clean and portable way). These checks can detect files left over by the make uninstall procedure, and if no other package claims them, they are suggested for removal (Tk interface), or removed directly (cmdline interface).
The program should work on most modern Unices. Even though great care has been taken as to use only very portable code in both the program and its build system, something can slip by, even more since I (the author) do not have other machines than a trusted GNU/Linux box. Just report them: chances are, you will get the portability problem solved sooner than expected.
The following is a critique against this tool, that shows what you lose, or do not gain in contrast to relying for example on the good old command line:
sourceinstall basically installs two times. The program makes a test installation first (if
INSTALL_ROOT are supported), to make a final check and gather useful information. This has an impact on total installation time. It is a necessary overhead to avoid non-portable low level solutions. In addition, other phases you can sometimes skip when running the commands yourself will add up to the total installation time.
sourceinstall has to make some generalizations and will not be able to install difficult packages. An experienced user or developer can quickly go through a broken or sketched
Makefile and fix things for his system, but sourceinstall can not. Also, packages which use different installation conventions (for example imake), do not work with sourceinstall. This program actively supports the autotools and the derived build system. If enough people use this tool, this could further drive developers towards the autotools and to create better packages in general.
This is not a GNU/Linux distribution. It is a source package management tool. If your package blocks during configuration, you still look at that error message in the console or pseudo-console and act consequently (generally this involves browsing for that missing file/package). This program does not interact with a repository of “installable” packages and dependencies.
If the benefits shown in the preceeding list do not apply to you, you might prefer to just install from source as you always did. After widespread adoption, however, even less experienced users than you could be able to approach the source packages (and hopefully become more experienced with time).
This chapter shows the various actions, options, parameters and preferences that sourceinstall accepts.
sourceinstall sourceinstall ACTION [ ACTION_ARG... ] [ OPTION [ OPTION_ARG... ]... ] [ PACKAGE_NAME ] sourceinstall [ OPTION [ OPTION_ARG... ]... ] FILENAME
sourceinstall can be run in three different ways.
If called without any arguments, the program starts a graphical interface and waits for user input to decide the action to perform. This is what beginners should probably do.
The second way of calling the program is the complete command line interface, where a single action must be specified, followed by zero or more options, possibly followed by a final PACKAGE_NAME if the action requires it.
The third way of calling the program is without specifying any actions, and with a required FILENAME.
This is for both convenience and backward compatibility, and is a shortcut for the --add action with no custom package name.
Only ONE action can be specified on the command line. The action may require one or more parameters.
Some actions require a PACKAGE_NAME on which to act, while others behave differently if such a PACKAGE_NAME is specified.
For example, the --export action can export information about all installed packages or about a single package, depending on whether a PACKAGE_NAME is specified.
As another example, the --add action adds a new package to the sourceinstall package list (a very common operation). If PACKAGE_NAME is specified, then the new package will be called PACKAGE_NAME. Otherwise, a default value is obtained from the top source directory of the package.
You might be tempted to pipe the output to a pager. If you do, and have expect-5.43 installed, avoid more. There is a bug in that Expect version that causes problems with pipes, and you will get a broken pipe error with more. Expect-5.41 does not show this problem.
The --add action configures, builds and installs the source code referenced by FILENAME, then stores the configured source code and saves package information. The unique package name will be taken from the top source directory by default, but can be specified using PACKAGE_NAME (look at the SYNOPSIS above).
Note that since the source code is automatically stored (in the ~/.sourceinstall/src directory) you can safely remove FILENAME after a successful --add action.
All the above assumes the default behaviour. It can be altered by Options and Preferences.
$ sourceinstall -d "STFU - Shoot The Fighters Up space game > This game is the famous SDL based STFU space game, where lots of noisy > enemy fighters dance through the screen making every kind of disturbing > crappy sound. Using overpowered weapons, you can finally bring them to > silence, and restore peace to the galaxy." STFU
Here we add a package description to the package STFU. The first line will be the short description, and the rest of the multiline text is called the long description. The descriptions will show everytime the --list and --check actions are requested (see those actions for further info).
$ sourceinstall -d "" STFU
Here we remove all the descriptions (both short and long) from the STFU package. The --list and --check actions will not show any descriptive text anymore.
Many options can be specified on the command line, but each option can be chosen only once. Options modify specific actions' behaviour.
Some of these options overlap with the preferences in the sourceinstall configuration file, and could even overlap with the package information. These command line options take precedence in these cases.
$ sourceinstall --install -C " --prefix=/home/claudio/usr" unshield-0.5
Note that if you want to submit some environment variables to configure, a nice way to do it is to specify them in the configure STRING. This way they will appear in the package information. For example:
$ sourceinstall --add cmdftp-0.9.2.tar.gz -C " CFLAGS=-Os LDFLAGS=-s"
$ sourceinstall --add tcl8.4.11-src.tar.gz -C " --enable-shared --disable-threads --enable-symbols" sourceinstall: warning in `Configuration': A configure script for this package has not been found in the top source directory. However, configure scripts have been found in subdirectories unix/configure win/configure tools/configure Use the `--subdir' option to specify a build subdirectory containing one of these configure scripts # configure script not available sourceinstall: warning in `Configuration': configure script not available. Default prefix and configure options will be ignored. # compile software sourceinstall: error in `Install package': Could not compile the code.
In this case, the subdirectory to indicate is of course the unix subdirectory:
$ sourceinstall --add tcl8.4.11-src.tar.gz -C " --enable-shared" -D unix
Preferences are very much like options, but they are stored in a specific file that is loaded each time sourceinstall starts.
Every time a command line option and a preference clash, the command line option takes precedence.
To change the preferences you can edit your
Note that each user (root too!) has his own preferences file.
For beginners, a default setup known to work well for GNU Source Installer is the following:
First of all, think about a software you want. It is highly probable that such a software package is available under a Free license somewhere.
You can search by simply using a web search engine.
Tip: add GPL or another Free license name to your search, so you are sure to find real Free Software, and not freeware, shareware or whatelse. You can also try the term “Open Source”.
The Free Software and Open Source movements have different goals, but search engines tend to find pages with the term “free” as in no-cost, while free software is about freedom.
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html explains the relationship further.
You can choose another road, and use a Directory instead. Good places to start are the Free Software Directory and Savannah (home to the sourceinstall project development). Other good places to search are Freshmeat and Sourceforge, although you will find a lot of not really Free software there too.
Once you have found an interesting software, look for a SOURCE download (.tar.gz, .tar.bz2, ..) Proceed with the download, and mark where the file will be downloaded.
Once you have a new shiny source package, it is time to add it from the Source Installer. Run sourceinstall, then press the
Add dialog that appears, you can choose
Browse to locate the package, and finally choose
Ok to proceed. Let the other checkboxes be with their default values.
If everything runs smooth and the package has been built with the autotools, you will be presented with a configuration window, where all package options can be tweaked prior to installation.
If you have no idea about what those options mean, at least take a look at the option descriptions. You can then try 'Auto' to go on with the defaults.
The option --prefix will be highlighted. This is because it's a very useful and important option, that lets you specify where your install tree should start.
When you are satisfied with the options, choose
Ok and wait for the software to be configured and compiled.
If no problems occur, you will be eventually asked for the root password (if needed), and then you will be informed about the result of the install operation.
The default prefix to use for your installs can be changed, like other options, in the
Preferences from the
Edit menu, and it is initially set to /usr/local.
Here are the preferences you can change and their description:
“Default installation choices: Manual configuration, Install, Keep Source”
These are the default values for the checkboxes when you trigger the
Add action. Beginners should keep all those selected.
“Manual configuration” means that you will be able to see the software configuration window. It will get you aquainted with the common options supported by the packages, so it is recommended to keep this selected.
You can always choose
Auto in the configuration window to stick with the defaults.
“Install” means that when you add new packages, they will be installed. Most beginners would want this.
“Keep Source” means that the configured source code is compressed, archived and stored for later use. This does waste some space, but ensures a cleaner uninstall process, and can provide a future easy reinstallation.
“Strip binaries (not recommended)”: this option should be off. It can cause a lot of trouble if you don't know what you are doing. It involves removing symbolic information from the installed programs.
“Default install prefix”: this is the default prefix to use when installing software packages. Programs and data will generally be installed in a subtree of the specified directory. The default value is /usr/local and is a good one for system-wide installs.
“Src compression”: this is the compression format to use when archiving source packages. By default it is .bz2 (which provides very space-efficient compression), but if you have plenty of space in your disk and prefer quicker installs and uninstalls you can change it to .gz
Clicking on the package will show all available information on that package, and will activate the actions for the installed package:
Reinstall. This will also trigger a quick check to ensure that the package has all its needed files in place.
To remove a package, select it from the list and click the
Remove a package, you can decide to uninstall the package but keep it in compressed source form. This way, should you decide to install again later, you have the already configured source, and only need to select it from the list and choose
These instructions should get you started. Read on if you want to know more.
A package processed by sourceinstall can exist in three forms:
For example, if you are short on space, and you are installing a conforming package (so you get a list of installed files in the package details), you can decide to remove the archived source (losing all the advantages though) to free up some space. Alternatively, you can avoid to store it in the first place when you perform the
On the countrary, you might think that you do not require a certain installed
program right now, so you select the
Remove action for that package, but
remove only the installation and not the source, so you can quickly reinstall should you require the software again in the future. Your configuration will
be preserved, you will not need to pass through the configuration window anymore if you were fine with the last installation.
Another service that sourceinstall offers is a simple set of consistency checks for existing installations.
In the Tk interface, selecting a package from the list at any time will show all available information about the installed package, and a check will be performed to see if the install looks ok. If some of the files required by the program are missing, you will find a notice and all the missing files will be highlighted and marked with asterisks (*).
The same thing can be obtained from the command line interface using the --check action.
At this point you can correct the problem by restoring the missing files yourself (for example, you might have accidentally moved them for arcane reasons), or
just reinstall the package, using the
Reinstall button of the Tk interface, or the --install action of the command line one.
Additionally, during the uninstallation cross-checks will be performed between make uninstall results and internal package information; only independent files (that is, files that are not being claimed by other packages) are proposed for removal (Tk interface), or directly removed (command line interface).
This works better if you avoid installing non-conforming packages, because Source Installer will not be able to know which files a non-conforming package claims.
It is recommended to install only conforming packages using Source Installer. Conforming packages offer a configure script that generates a Makefile, and the Makefile honors the common install targets and environment variables. Generally, packages built (correctly) with the GNU autotools result as conforming packages, and the autotools are also expecially supported: only configure scripts generated with autoconf get the nice configuration window in the Tk interface. However, there are also other tools that developers can use which are capable of producing a configure script and a Makefile. Even hand-written configure scripts and Makefiles are ok, as long as they honor the install targets and the environment variables.
Conforming packages get better uninstallation, better checks, more information in the Package information window. A single non-conforming package can make uninstallation checks degrade. This is because the program can not detect which files a non-conforming package claims.
For these reasons, you will be warned when installing a non-conforming package.
It is highy probable that you will have many different tools that provide package management. For example, if you are running a GNU/Linux distribution, you probably have your distribution-specific way to handle binary (or even source) packages. What I suggest here is to make a clean separation between your distribution-provided packages (along with any additional packages installed using your distribution-specific tools), and the source packages installed using the distribution-independent GNU Source Installer. One good way to obtain this, is to use different prefixes for each package management system you use. Suppose your distribution-handled packages are in /usr, then your source packages managed by GNU Source Installer can be prefixed using /usr/local (this is the initial value). This way you ensure that file dependency checks are not tainted by other packages managed by other tools.
GNU Source Installer configuration and packages always refer to the particular user that runs it. What follows is a list of possible setups.
As the first example, suppose user Pip wants to install his private packages. He chooses to install in /home/pip/usr, at the same time allowing user Merlin to install his own packages in /home/merlin/usr. Of course, in this case no one steps on anybody's toes and everything runs smooth.
As the second example, user Merlin is the system administrator, and personally deals with all system-wide package installations. Thus, he logs in using his
merlin account, then runs sourceinstall and uses the default prefix value, which is /usr/local to install new programs. When requested by the system, he is asked for the root password. This is ideal for one-user systems.
As a third example, suppose both Pip and Merlin deal with system administration. They get along well, and both deal with system-wide package installations. Thus, they decide to both install packages logging in using the privileged
root account, and then install using sourceinstall. They will both see the same packages, because they are logging in as the same user (
root). However, only one of the two admins will be able to install software at the exact same time, because to prevent corruption of package data each user is entitled to a single running instance of GNU Source Installer. When the program is already in use, sourceinstall refuses to start and explains the error.
As a last example, here's what not to do. Imagine both Pip and Merlin deal with system administration, like before, but since they don't read the docs, they login using their regular accounts, and perform installs using the default system-wide prefix, /usr/local, providing the root password when needed. Even if they install at different times this is a bad thing to do: they will not be aware of each other's moves, file dependency tracking will be far less precise, and uninstallation crosschecks will degrade.
If you want to dwell on the internals of sourceinstall, this is an interesting chapter. We will look at all files and directories that together make sourceinstall work.
The sourceinstall executable is in fact a symbolic link to the implementation in use. For example:
$ ls -l /usr/bin/sourceinstall* lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Jun 3 03:15 sourceinstall -> sourceinstall.tcl -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 87019 Jun 3 03:15 sourceinstall.tcl
Currently there is only a tcl implementation, but in the future this system will be used to make different implementations of sourceinstall coesist.
The per user configuration directory is another story:
each user that runs sourceinstall gets a .sourceinstall directory created in his HOME. This is for example a directory tree:
$ tree ~/.sourceinstall /home/claudio/.sourceinstall |-- build |-- install-destdir |-- packages | |-- a-renet-1.1.0rc5 | |-- cmdftp-0.9.2 | `-- libmikmod-3.2.0-beta2 |-- src | |-- a-renet-1.1.0rc5.tar.bz2 | |-- cmdftp-0.9.2.tar.bz2 | `-- libmikmod-3.2.0-beta2.tar.bz2 `-- sourceinstallrc
If sourceinstall were running, you would see another file, ~/.sourceinstall/.sourceinstall_lock, containing the process id of the running sourceinstall process.
In this case there are only three packages installed. Each package has a file name entry with the same name in the packages directory. That file contains all information on that package.
The source for all three packaged has been archived in the src directory.
The install-destdir directory is used during the test installation, and then it is cleared.
The build directory is used only while building packages, and then it is cleared.
Do not store anything in these directories yourself, because they will be regularily emptied.
The sourceinstallrc file contains the current user preferences. These are the same options that can be tweaked from the
Preferences in the
Edit Menu using the Tk interface.
sourceinstall contains now some experimental export functions, to offer more interface to other programs (and some user functionalities as well).
Information about a single package (or about all the packages) can be exported through the Export package information to XML and Export package information to plaintext features. The XML involved is a simple XML 1.0 format (look at the XML output for the external public DTD address) and is more machine-oriented, while the plaintext is more user-oriented.
It is also possible to extract just the list of the files claimed by the installed package, in a plaintext, newline-separated list using the Export installed files list action.
A whole different story is the Export as binary package functionality. Information that follows is very unstable and should not be relied upon for the long term. This is a simple function that builds a .tar.gz archive out of the files, directories and links claimed by an installed package. Original file permissions and ownership will be preserved. It should be easy to build OS-specific binary packages out of these simple binary tarballs. However, also consider using the export installed files list functionality instead. If you expected more binary package building functionalities, please remember that this program is source-centered and OS-neutral.
This is a small section in which I try to address common questions.
A: There are dedicated topics in this manual.
See Installing the Installer.
See Troubleshooting Installation.
A: By all means, do report it. You will get the problem solved, and the software will become better if users report bugs. See Reporting Bugs.
A: If the package does not provide a build system compatible with sourceinstall, you will get an error message, stating that the program could not compile the code. To get the package supported, you have at least two choices.
If you are an experienced user, you should contact the original author or maintainer of that package, explaining that you are trying to install it using a new install tool (GNU Source Installer), but it does not work because it does not provide a build system compatible with the idiom:
./configure make make install
Then provide a quick solution for the author, so he will not need any effort to accept the change. If you are not sure, rely on the sourceinstall people to do this for you.
If you are a little less experienced and do not know how to help the author of the package, just contact the sourceinstall mailing list at email@example.com. We will contact the package maintainer, and help him make that package work with sourceinstall.
A: Checkinstall is a nice program that tracks a source installation using Installwatch, which is Copyright 1998 by Pancrazio `Ezio' de Mauro, and is now part of the Checkinstall distribution. Installwatch is a low-level tool that intercepts calls to file functions in the dynamically linked glibc that alter the file system during 'make install' (or another installation command). Then, Checkinstall builds binary Slackware, RPM or Debian packages based on that information.
Now I find that the DESTDIR and INSTALL_ROOT (its old, deprecated replacement) way used in sourceinstall is more clean and portable (although slower) than the low level installwatch approach, and is an incentive for developers to correctly support DESTDIR in their custom Makefiles or in their automake hooks. sourceinstall detects if the build system supports DESTDIR or the old INSTALL_ROOT variables, and uses them for the installation tracking.
As for GNU/Linux distribution-specific binary package building features, GNU Source Installer is again an OS neutral program, so it is not its job to build them. However, a functionality to build simple, neutral binary packages in the form of a tarball archive is available. From that package, it should be straightforward to build your desired distribution-specific package, but again it is not the point of this program.
A: (see question above) It has been recently reported that sourceinstall simple binary packages happen to be handled correctly by the Slackware GNU/Linux tools. That is simply because both use plain tarballs which contain the needed files with the original owners and permissions. Remember that building binary packages is not the point of this program (but use this as you see fit of course).
A: Surprisingly, I got many (well some) private mails stating that there's already the Gentoo GNU/Linux distribution and its Portage system, so sourceinstall was supposedly pointless. Again, this software is an installer and source package management tool, targeted at modern Unix systems (these include, but do not end with GNU/Linux). Of course, sourceinstall is not a GNU/Linux distribution and not a package repository.
A: I do not have any real preference of one toolkit over another. They can all get the job done. However I really wished to use the GNU ToolKit at the beginning (gtk), because it's the GNU ToolKit (talk about tautology). There is one problem: dependencies and dependencies' size. I wanted to provide something that you could install from a bare-bones Unix + X11 system requiring nothing else.
With the current tcl/tk/expect implementation I can provide, in 7 MB, a fullpack alternative shell-archive release of sourceinstall, which includes and autobuilds all its dependencies if necessary. The same thing would not be possible with gtk, which is bigger and less straightforward to autobuild.
If you want a [:yourtoolkit:] interface to the program badly, you can implement it on top of sourceinstall command line interface (but contact the author so you can get all the help and possibly tweaks to the young interface that you need).
A: Tcl seemed the natural choice having to deal with both Tk and Expect, and it offered simpler Unix portability. However this could change. I am not happy with some of the tcl decisions, and some bugs in the implementation do not help either. If the whole project language changes, it will change to C.
A: There are projects with somewhat similar goals that I have been made aware of:
Kconfigure, QT based, for KDE: http://kconfigure.sourceforge.net/
Easinstaller, Ruby and Fox based: http://easinstaller.sourceforge.net/
GPaco, Gtk based, for GNU/Linux and Solaris: http://paco.sourceforge.net/
I know little about them save their name so you should investigate them yourself.
A: The project is still very young, as is the documentation. It will be a lot better; you can speed up things by reporting what exactly is missing, and possibly providing yourself if you have some time.
A: This manual will be integrated with a detailed explanation on how to deal with dependencies. With some patience, I think almost everyone can learn to live with them.
A: Starting from sourceinstall-0.4, this has been made easier. Just download the regular new version (for example, sourceinstall-0.5.tar.gz), then run sourceinstall, and choose “Add”; select that new sourceinstall package (sourceinstall-0.5.tar.gz), and confirm with Ok. All your installed packages and preferences will not be harmed.
A: The Tk popup menus (and consequently sourceinstall prior to v-0.5) were not sticky. This means that in order to keep the menu visible, one had to keep the button always pressed. This has been fixed very recently in a development version of Tk.
In order to offer a more usable popup menu, starting from 0.5 I use a workaround that involves showing the popup on right click button RELEASE. In short: starting with sourceinstall 0.5, click and release the right button on a list entry, and the popup will appear.
A: Start with the Bugs and Task list in the Savannah sourceinstall project page: http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/sourceinstall/ . Even if you are not a programmer, the task list can contain very relevant work that does not involve programming or reading code at all.
If you have an interesting idea to share, by all means do so. You can contact the mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you prefer you can contact the author directly at email@example.com. As long as your mail is polite enough, you will not be judged by me in any way by the ideas you express, even if I do not agree with you.
A: Great, but please do something for the project. If you make regular contributions, and understand the project goals, you will be added to the sourceinstall project.
Email bug reports to firstname.lastname@example.org, trying to be as clear and precise as possible. This means that you should provide all useful information that could help to identify the problem, and a detailed way to reproduce it. A good starting point is to specify your OS name and version. If you have no idea about what OS you have, try:
$ uname -a
Also, if you can please specify your tcl, tk, and expect versions.
If your problem regards GNU Source Installer installation, more information is needed: please read the sections “Installing the Installer” and “Troubleshooting Installation”.
GNU Source Installer (sourceinstall) is Copyright (c) 2005 Claudio Fontana and is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This is a license that grants and protects freedoms. sourceinstall is thus Free Software. There is an exception in the m4/tcl.m4 file, which is Copyright (c) 1999-2000 Ajuba Solution, Copyright (c) 2002-2005 ActiveState Corporation. The m4/tcl.m4 file is licensed under a “revised BSD” license. See m4/license.terms. It has been slightly modified for GNU Source Installer.
Please note that “Free” in “Free Software” refers to liberty, not price. Think of “free speech” rather than “free beer”. The exact and legally binding distribution terms are spelled out below; in short, you have the right (freedom) to run and change sourceinstall and distribute it to other people, and even—if you want—charge money for doing either. The important restriction is that you have to grant your recipients the same rights and impose the same restrictions.
This method of licensing software is also known as open source because, among other things, it makes sure that all recipients will receive the source code along with the program, and be able to improve it. The GNU project prefers the term “free software” for reasons outlined at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html.
The exact license terms are defined by this paragraph and the GNU General Public License it refers to:
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program (look for the file called COPYING); if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA You can contact the author (Claudio Fontana) by sending an email to claudio@@gnu.org
In addition to this, this manual is free in the same sense:
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being ``GNU General Public License'' and ``GNU Free Documentation License'', with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU Free Documentation License''.
The full texts of the GNU General Public License and of the GNU Free Documentation License are available below.
Copyright © 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin Street - Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software—to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.
When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.
For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.
We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.
Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors' reputations.
Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.
The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.
Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.
You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.
These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or collective works based on the Program.
In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.
The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.
If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code.
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It is not the purpose of this section to induce you to infringe any patents or other property right claims or to contest validity of any such claims; this section has the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the free software distribution system, which is implemented by public license practices. Many people have made generous contributions to the wide range of software distributed through that system in reliance on consistent application of that system; it is up to the author/donor to decide if he or she is willing to distribute software through any other system and a licensee cannot impose that choice.
This section is intended to make thoroughly clear what is believed to be a consequence of the rest of this License.
Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and “any later version”, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.
If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.
To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the “copyright” line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.
one line to give the program's name and an idea of what it does. Copyright (C) 20yy name of author This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street - Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.
Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.
If the program is interactive, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:
Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) 19yy name of author Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.
The hypothetical commands show w and show c should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, the commands you use may be called something other than show w and show c; they could even be mouse-clicks or menu items—whatever suits your program.
You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your school, if any, to sign a “copyright disclaimer” for the program, if necessary. Here is a sample; alter the names:
Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright interest in the program `Gnomovision' (which makes passes at compilers) written by James Hacker. signature of Ty Coon, 1 April 1989 Ty Coon, President of Vice
This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.
Copyright (C) 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document “free” in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.
This License is a kind of “copyleft”, which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.
We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.
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You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.
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To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page: Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU Free Documentation License''. If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the ``with...Texts.'' line with this: with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with the Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST. If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation. If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.
This is an index of the most basic topics and definitions used in this manual. If you are not sure about a notion or term used in the manual, you can try looking for it here.
Adding a new source package: Usage for Beginners
Changing the Preferences: Usage for Beginners
configuration: Introduction for Beginners
console: Introduction for Beginners
directory: Introduction for Beginners
folder: Introduction for Beginners
info: Introduction for Beginners
link: Introduction for Beginners
Looking for the right package: Usage for Beginners
man: Introduction for Beginners
prefix: Introduction for Beginners
prompt: Introduction for Beginners
Querying package information: Usage for Beginners
Removing a package: Usage for Beginners
root: Introduction for Beginners
root password: Introduction for Beginners
run sourceinstall: Introduction for Beginners
shell: Introduction for Beginners
shortcut: Introduction for Beginners
sourceinstall dependencies: Introduction for Beginners
tabulation: Introduction for Beginners
terminal: Introduction for Beginners
The default setup: Usage for Beginners
This is a list of all the relevant topics in the sourceinstall manual.
This is an alphabetical list of all sourceinstall functionalities, commands, command-line actions and options, and relevant environment variables.