[Beowulf] software for activating one of many programs but not the others?

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Tue Aug 20 10:11:13 PDT 2019

On a system I am setting up there are a very large number of different 
software packages available.  The sources live in /usr/local/src and a 
small number of the most commonly used ones are installed in 
/usr/local/bin, /usr/local/lib and so forth.  The issue is that any of 
the target end users will only want a couple of these.  If they were all 
fully installed into /usr/local there would be some name conflicts.  
They may also be bringing some of their own versions of these, and while 
$PATH order can help there, it would be best to avoid those possible 
conflicts too.  Users don't have priv's to modify /usr/local, so they 
cannot install/uninstall there themselves.

So I'm looking for something like

   setup software_name install
   setup software_name remove

which would install/uninstall the packages (perhaps by symlinks) from


under the user's home directory.  The goal is that the setup scripts NOT 
be constructed by hand.  It would have a

   setup software_name install

which would emulate a:

   make install

and automatically translate it into the appropriate setup commands.  
Some of these packages have hundreds of programs, so anything manual is 
going to be very

Anybody seen a piece of software like this?

I don't expect this to work in all cases.  Some of these packages hard 
code paths into the binaries and/or scripts.  The only hope for them is 
for the user to do some variant of:

     cd $HOMEDIR
     (cd /usr/local/src; tar -cf - software_name) | tar -xf -
     cd software_name
     make clean  #pray that it gets everything!!!
     ./configure --prefix=$HOMEDIR
     make install

There is a file which documents how to build each package, although it 
is nowhere near complete at this time.

Docker is already available if the user wants to go that route, which 
avoids this whole issue, but at the cost of moving big images around.


David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech

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