Matthew Rosewarne on 31 Dec 2008 11:58:43 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Perils of building from source?

On Wednesday 31 December 2008, sean finney wrote:
> - if you build the code entirely from source, you should consider
> installing it somewhere that will not conflict with the pkg management
> system, ideally somewhere that you could easily uninstall it later.  i
> prefer using stow, or a --prefix that's otherwise unique and open to an rm
> -rf later.

One tool I've become physically and psychologically dependent on is 
cowbuilder.  While originally intended for building packages in a "clean" (ie. 
nothing installed but build-deps) environment, I find it invaluable for 
experimenting with just about anything.  It essentially makes a sandbox with 
chroot, but using cowdancer's copy-on-write abilities.  That way, you can do 
anything you want without risking damage to your files, but without the rigid 
separation of virtualisation.

It does require some setup to get it the way you like it, but after that you 
can just run "cowbuilder --login --bindmount $PWD", which will give you a 
sandbox where only changes to the current directory will be kept, but anything 
outside of that will be discarded.

%!PS: You can run any release you want under cowbuilder, so long as your CPU 
supports it.  For instance, I have 3 environments set up: Debian unstable for 
amd64, Debian unstable for i386, and Debian 4.0 "etch" for i386.  It *should* 
be possible to have a mix of Debian(s) and Ubuntu(s), too.

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