[GNC-dev] About the "$HOME/.local" installation prefix

John Ralls jralls at ceridwen.us
Thu May 2 13:20:19 EDT 2019

Correction: http://refspecs.linuxfoundation.org/FHS_3.0/fhs/ch03s13.html says that AT&T invented /opt for SYSV. 

http://refspecs.linuxfoundation.org/FHS_3.0/fhs/index.html is as close to canonical as one gets for what different parts of the file hierarchy are for and how they should be used.

John Ralls

> On May 2, 2019, at 10:03 AM, John Ralls <jralls at ceridwen.us> wrote:
> AT&T Unix and the real BSD did have /usr/local as the place for installing stuff not part of the system. Sun Microsystems started using that for their Solaris extensions to BSD and invented /opt as the place for locally-installed packages. Both typically require root to install into and some distros have put stuff in one or the other, so care is advised when using either.
> There's another problem: CMake treats both specially and munges the subdirectory locations; this is worst with /opt as it insists on stuffing etc/gnucash into a weird path under /etc so root is required for the install step and gnucash can't find the environment file.
> I lean towards guiding inexperienced users toward keeping everything in their home directories and away from using su or sudo for anything. 
> Regards,
> John Ralls
>> On May 2, 2019, at 9:40 AM, Colin Law <clanlaw at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On many varieties of Linux /usr/local is the conventional location to
>> add locally built packages.  In this case probably /usr/local/gnucash.
>> I think the build instructions used to suggest that but I may be
>> mistaken.
>> Colin
>> On Thu, 2 May 2019 at 17:27, Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at kobaltwit.be> wrote:
>>> Op donderdag 2 mei 2019 18:03:22 CEST schreef Tommy Trussell:
>>>> On Thu, May 2, 2019 at 6:02 AM Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at kobaltwit.be>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Our current wiki on building gnucash for Ubuntu 16.04 (https://
>>>>> wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/BuildUbuntu16.04) suggests $HOME/.local as a valid
>>>>> installation prefix.
>>>> ...
>>>>> So personally I would recommend against using $HOME/.local as installation
>>>>> prefix. I am however curious where this suggestion originally came from.
>>>> This is entirely speculation... I'm looking at this system where I've been
>>>> testing the GnuCash versions available as Snap and Flatpak... and I see
>>>> that the Flatpak installation apparently added
>>>> ~/.local/share/flatpak/exports/share to the $XDG_DATA_DIRS environment
>>>> variable.
>>>> Maybe whoever wrote the wiki entry was also working with Flatpak and
>>>> thought .local would be a good place to stash things to make them more
>>>> accessible to Flatpak.
>>> Possibly.
>>>> I would think ~/bin would be a more ideal suggestion because I see it is
>>>> already defined in my bash $PATH on this Ubuntu machine. (And I'm pretty
>>>> sure I didn't add it, though I may have.)
>>> That would be another alternative location. To have gnucash benefit from ~/bin
>>> being on the path though the gnucash binary itself should be ~/bin/gnucash.
>>> Translating this back to the required installation prefix would mean the
>>> installation prefix should be $HOME.
>>> This is certainly possible but has the drawback the installation would add
>>> extra directories in your home directory, like
>>> ~/share
>>> ~/etc
>>> ~/lib(64)
>>> ...
>>> That may be cluttering the home directory more than the average user may like.
>>> And in addition if someone is adding other binaries to ~/bin it again becomes
>>> more difficult to keep the gnucash build separate from everything else.
>>> To me something like Adrien suggested makes most sense.
>>> One could add two extra steps to simplify launching gnucash afterwards:
>>> - make a softlink from <installation_prefix>/bin/gnucash to /home/bin/gnucash.
>>> This would allow console users to simply type "gnucash" to run their own
>>> gnucash build.
>>> - copy <installation/prefix>/share/applications/gnucash.desktop to
>>> ~/.local/share/applications
>>> That should make you graphical environment aware of your self-built gnucash
>>> and have it pop up in the usual places to launch applications (the Kicker menu
>>> on KDE, or the gnome-shell application launcher).
>>> Regards,
>>> Geert
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> gnucash-devel mailing list
>>> gnucash-devel at gnucash.org
>>> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-devel
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