I am working with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5.9. As it is, I do not have any root privileges and I also do not have the option of getting new packages installed by the sysadmin.

While doing POCs in python I have come to realize that several of the system packages that I need (e.g. openssl-devel, libsqlite) are either missing or hopelessly outdated. I have managed to install a local version of python on my home folder, but I cannot really work with it unless I figure out a way to do local installs of linux packages as well. Is such a thing possible? Can I specify which folders the packages will install to using the configure script?

2 Answers 2


Most binaries, especially the ones you mentioned, are compiled to be at a certain location under /. So, without root access, installing them is next to impossible.

Having said that, if you know enough about python to point it to where you want it to find the support files, you can download the rpm, browse it contents using something like midnight commander, as it is a cpio file after all. Extract what you need and put theme wherever you want.

But, you are opening yourself to a whole new world of support issues. If something doesn't work, you are your own support and no one will be able to help you. Just a word of caution.

  • I got to the point of extracting the files from rpms, but got totally lost about which files to extract, where to put them within the local installation, and how to tell python to refer to the local copy... which is why I wanted to check if there was a simple method to do local rpm installations that I was unaware of. Seems not! I will mark your answer as correct. Thanks.
    – jawsnnn
    Mar 9, 2016 at 21:07

When you compile a software, you could specify the --prefix option ( which specifies where your software is to be installed). So for your case, if you run:

./configure --prefix=/home/your_user_name/... 
make install

You could have your only copy of the software. This works for most of the GNU applications.

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