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I use some common software packages frequently enough that I found it worthwhile to modify their code a bit to work more smoothly for my peculiar needs. However, I was not able to get my changes accepted upstream.

To make things organized and transparent, I'd like to keep my changes separate from the released (upstream) version of each package. I know this is done all the time with standard packaging tools, but I need to install these on my various user accounts. Some of these accounts are on shared systems where I either don't have root access, or where I don't want to force other users to adopt my version of a piece of software. Most distro packaging tools don't support installing a package into a user's home directory - my stuff goes in ~/.local/bin for example. So I'm looking at combining something like Quilt to apply my patches, with some custom install scripts to do the upstream downloading and local installation.

All in all I think it's not too complicated, but before I start I wanted to see what others have done.

A related question, What is the recommended way to maintain local patches to debian packages? is asking about distribution-specific packages with global (privileged) installation. Also relevant, but more general, is How to manage open source project patches which can't push to upstream?.

  • There's a 101 different ways of doing this, and the best way is going to be unique to your environment. As a result, I think this is gonna be a "primarily opinion based" type question. – Stephen Harris Mar 19 at 0:51
  • @StephenHarris: I tried to restrict it a little by asking "what others have done or agreed upon", although as the two similar questions I linked were not labeled "opinion-based", I had not anticipated that my question would be closed for that reason. – Metamorphic Mar 19 at 0:55
  • I'm a bit afraid there might not be one single "accepted" way of doing that, and the ways/tools favoured might well be up to the preferences of the individuals in question. – ilkkachu Mar 19 at 20:50
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    I've opened a Meta question to discuss whether this is actually opinion-based. As for this question, if for example @Stephen thinks there are "101 different ways of doing this", perhaps he could link to a description of one of them. That would be a kind way of rewarding others who took time to read and write this question. Obviously, I came here after Googling unsuccessfully, and I'm hoping to get advice from experts like yourselves. – Metamorphic Mar 21 at 6:55
  • Most distributions' packages are not meant for unprivileged installation. Why do you want to use a distribution package rather than compile the upstream source, if you aren't going to do a system-wide installation? Although your question isn't exactly a software recommendation, I strongly recommend reading softwarerecs.meta.stackexchange.com/a/352 . Your question has some requirements, but it lacks the “user story” part, and that makes it hard to figure out what would suit you, especially since your approach seems at odds with your goals. What do you hope to achieve? – Gilles Apr 4 at 22:37

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