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I need to deploy, manage and run software as a non-privileged user in SuSE (that is, no root access whatsoever, can't use system's package management, etc).

What are my options?

I'd prefer reusing system's package manager (YaST) by somehow setting up a separate user-local repository. Second best choice is a separate package management system that supports user-local repositories. Preferably it would also support push-style updates (as opposed to pull).

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Canonical question which I was looking for but haven't found until after I started a bounty on this one. - Non-Root Package Managers –  Piotr Dobrogost Feb 26 '13 at 20:26
    
I think there is not much to say about it beyond what has been said. There are various possible methodologies for installing software as a non-root user, but there aren't any formal systems, so there is not a canonical answer. Although it may seem like a "very interesting and important" question, it's probably only so to the small minority of users who have a serious need for such a thing, which, considering the potentially colossal amount of work and headache involved, helps explain why it hasn't happened. –  goldilocks Mar 3 '13 at 15:09

3 Answers 3

Well for Gentoo there is the Gentoo Prefix project which allows you to install packages to somewhere different than / . Gentoo's Package manager portage is written in Python and very portable so you could easily setup a new tree for a user that that user has full access to without breaking anything.

Two Problems I see:

  1. You'll probably have to compile a lot of stuff or build binary packages for your users that way and you'll probably have to install a lot of stuff twice so that the prefix thingy works properly (I think it would be hard to build stuff against you already installed packages that way)

  2. You'd not have a push-service.

The other approach I see would be to offer a punch of tar.gz files that are basically just custom made packages from your distribution patched to use a different prefix: Let's say you create a "Library" dir in every user dir and add "~/Library/usr/bin" to each user's path, a simple package manager could be whipped up to take care of installations (you could also look at Arch Linux's pacman for that since it's basically just .tar.gz files and dependencies.

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But he's not using Gentoo, he's on SuSE. So how does this help? –  ire_and_curses Feb 28 '13 at 2:47
    
Like ire_and_curses said, this is for Gentoo, not SuSE. I would downvote, but I'm only at 123 rep (it takes 125 to downvote..) –  JamesTheAwesomeDude Mar 2 '13 at 15:51
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Gentoo prefix can also be installed on SUSE. –  zjhui Mar 3 '13 at 11:29
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While this is not an SuSE specific answer, there is no SuSE specific answer, so someone who absolutely must have a linux system that can do this might be interested in knowing what's actually available. "Alternatives" are hardly irrelevant or tangential if they are, in fact, the only possibility. + 1 –  goldilocks Mar 3 '13 at 15:13

Use a privileged user manager [ licensed :( ] and you could run commands that need super user access as a normal user. Everything is tracked and audited

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Hi! Can someone elaborate on that a bit more... ? Can a user work normally with Linux (get packages, install, compile, etc) in a restricted networking environment (i.e. without having access to play with local/remote proxy settings, etc)? –  Nikos Alexandris Dec 5 '12 at 12:25

You can permit all of zypper family command to your user in /etc/sudoers file.

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Could you be a bit more precise? How do you do that, what precautions have to be taken, any risks? –  vonbrand Mar 3 '13 at 23:26
    
zypper command such as apt-get in debian or yum in redhat-base distro. So you can : youruser ALL = NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/zypper , then you don't need to root privilege and your password. –  Mohsen Pahlevanzadeh Mar 4 '13 at 13:16
    
When you specify commands, you don't have any risk. –  Mohsen Pahlevanzadeh Mar 4 '13 at 13:17
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Sure, no risk. Not that any random user who can install/remove packages can ever screw the system up royally. –  vonbrand Mar 4 '13 at 13:23
    
no, because system itself uses a locking system. –  Mohsen Pahlevanzadeh Mar 5 '13 at 2:17

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