Package problem

David Cournapeau cournape at
Tue May 19 06:15:14 CEST 2009

On Tue, May 19, 2009 at 4:52 AM, Sverre <sverreodegard at> wrote:
> I'm using Ubuntu and some of the packages in the repository are too
> old. So I got the thought to remove nearly  all packages downloaded
> from the repository and install them with easy_install. Is this a way
> to go without greater problems?

This is probably the worst way to do it :)

As a rule, you should never install anything from sources (be it
python packages or anything else) in /usr, which should be considered
as 'owned' by the package. By /usr is owned, I mean that anything
installed with prefix /usr (/usr/lib, /usr/include, etc...) can be
overwritten by the Ubuntu package manager. Unfortunately, by default,
python install will install in /usr (whereas most sources
packages installed in /usr/local/ if no --prefix is given - that's the
case of any software using autoconf, like python for example).

You could either install system-wide (for all users) in /usr/local, or
somewhere just for yourself. To handle dependencies, you could use
something like virtualenv for packages using autotools. For
development, a more heavy-weight (but more reliable) method is to use
chroot and other 'jail-like' systems.

You should avoid building by yourself things which depend on a lot of
C libraries - it quickly becomes unmanageable in my own experience.
For some distributions which have long release periods (e.g. RHEL),
that's a significant problem without any easy solution (I almost
always use a virtual machine in that case if possible).



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