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Wikipedia says

An installation program or installer is a computer program that installs files, such as applications, drivers, or other software, onto a computer.

Some installers are specifically made to install the files they contain; other installers are general-purpose and work by reading the contents of the software package to be installed.

  1. Is an installer always used for binary installation and not doing any compilation work for source installation?
  2. Does Linux have the concept "installer" for package installation? Wikipedia distinguishes between "installer" and "Package management system". In Ubuntu, it seems to me all binary installation is done by Package management systems dpkg or apt - so where is an "installer"?
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For the third question I suggest reading the install man page. –  Cristian Ciupitu Jul 9 at 22:05
    
@CristianCiupitu:yes, I have. but I can't figure out –  Tim Jul 9 at 22:06
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The dichotomy is not very useful. It is just a toolchain made of many programs which all have a different function. You can take a package manager like apt on Debian and look into all it's doing to a package and how dpkg is leveraged - ultimately this gets extracted and copied to directories. Installing is an output task that goes down a toolchain... –  illuminÉ Jul 9 at 23:27
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@Tim, speaking of toolchains, have a look at the coreutils.spec which is used to build the coreutils RPM and see for yourself how install might be used. –  Cristian Ciupitu Jul 9 at 23:36
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I've removed your third question because it appears to be an exact duplicate of unix.stackexchange.com/questions/141572/…. –  strugee Jul 10 at 1:57

1 Answer 1

q1. Is an installer always used for binary installation, not doing any compilation work for source installation?

No. You can actually run a binary from anywhere on the filesystem in most linux systems, you do not need an installer.

q2a. Does Linux have the concept "installer" for package installation?

Yes, lots of packaging tools will call installers to install files. The installer method depends a lot on the language used to write the binary.

q2b. In Ubuntu, it seems to me all binary installation is done by Package management system "dpkg/APT", so where is an "installer"?

Most of the time packages that need installation, have a installer script (install.sh or someting similar).

q3. is /usr/bin/install an installer or a package management system?

It is a binary that will "install" a file. Here are some links describing it/how it is used. It is similar to a copy command that places the binary file where it should be, with the correct permissions to run.

What is the purpose of the 'install' command?

http://www-01.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/ssw_aix_61/com.ibm.aix.cmds3/install.htm?lang=en

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