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I have an rpm for a program called KDirStat that I would like to run on a machine where I am not the system administrator. My questions are:

  • Can I install this rpm package without the assistance of the system administrator? (I mean in a technical sense, aside from whether or not it's good practice)
  • If I just want to run the program, do I necessarily need to install the rpm package? More generally, why can I not just download the binaries for my platform and execute the program?

As a reference, when I run

rpm -i kdirstat-2.2.0-1.src.rpm

I get the following error:

error: cannot write to %sourcedir /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES

but does that necessarily mean that I need the assistance of the system administrator to install this preogram?

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Are you talking about source-rpms or about binary rpms? – Nils Jul 21 '12 at 21:21

Not if you don't care about where it is installed. Using prebuilt binaries will work fine if they are statically linked or you have all the appropriate libraries (of the requested versions) already on the system. RPMs in general are not statically linked, but they do contain the dependency information, so you could check if you have all the prerequisites before going further.

While I'm sure your package manager supports installing to a different prefix (eg. $HOME, where you have complete write access), it may still want to write metadata, logs and others into system paths. In that case you can still try the manual way, by converting the file to a normal tarball. Check out rpmunpack or rpm2targz to do that. I just hope you already have either on the system. ;)

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