I have a few Linux servers that lack necessary sudo or root permissions, and I'm feeling kind of stuck with my options:

  • hand-compile packages to a ~/local/ folder or some equivalent
  • work with sysadmins to get some old version of whatever tool I'm wanting installed, likely never to be upgraded again
  • try to roll my own homebrew, not having a clue how to do it

Is there something for a user in my limited state to be able to locally compile and install various localized applications in the same way I use homebrew on my personal Mac at home?

  • 1
    Some sysadmins are surprisingly helpful and reasonable. Are you sure that choice 2 is as gloomy as you make it sound?
    – larsks
    Feb 7, 2012 at 21:21
  • What distro are you using? Some of the package management systems (e.g., rpm) allow you to create your own rpm database, and install the packages into ~/local/
    – cjc
    Feb 7, 2012 at 21:40
  • I believe it's the Oracle branded Red Hat linux, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but I can't be sure. I wouldn't know about whether that's possible, but I'm interested to know what you're talking about that I might look to that. Feb 8, 2012 at 19:25
  • @larsks I wish they were more helpful, but I'm reaching out here because I've run out of options and patience working with them so far. They've given me an OS install that is only as large as the OS itself, with a separately mounted /opt/user directory to install and run all my other applications, and getting access to apt, rpm, etc., raises all sorts of flags for them. I'd honestly expected a standardized "web box" or something for what I'm needing, but they won't support tooling outside of the OS, so I'm left to fend and manage my own apps. Feb 8, 2012 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


Do you know pkgsrc? It's a framework (using Makefiles and some pkg_* tools) for compiling packages that also facilitates non-root building of packages (and their dependencies) very much.

So, referring to your choices, it's the "homebrew" thing but already built and proven, with lots of packages. There's a guide, too. (While it looks kinda NetBSD-specific, it's not and should work just as well on Linux.)

  • I've not heard of that tool before, and I will look into it for sure. Feb 8, 2012 at 19:35
  • I will use this. This seems to cover everything I need to get bootstrapped, and I'm pretty happy with it. It has some interface issues (i.e. not the simplest to figure out for a layperson unix user), but all in all I like it. Mar 1, 2012 at 20:59
  • 1
    I keep forgetting about nix which possibly also fits this niche (albeit being very different from pkgsrc).
    – sr_
    Mar 7, 2012 at 11:20
  • I had not heard of nix. I will have to check that out as well. Thanks. Mar 8, 2012 at 13:37

Linuxbrew is exactly a Homebrew equivalent for Linux. It may not have existed when the OP asked the question, but it does now and it works very well.


EasyBuild might meet your needs: https://github.com/hpcugent/easybuild

Here's a demo, an installation of a package as a non-root user: https://github.com/pdurbin/easybuild-vagrant

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