Application Packaging Developer's Guide

Relocatable Packages

The System V ABI implies that the original intention behind the relocatable package was to make installing the package more convenient for the administrator. Now the need for relocatable packages goes much further. Convenience is not the only issue, rather it is quite possible that during the installation an active software product is already installed in the default directory. A package that is not designed to deal with this situation either overwrites the existing product or fails to install. However, a package designed handle multiple architectures and multiple versions can install smoothly and offer the administrator a wide range of options that are fully compatible with existing administrative traditions.

In some ways the problem of multiple architectures and the problem of multiple versions is the same. It must be possible to install a variant of the existing package side by side with other variants, and direct clients or standalone consumers of exported file systems to any one of those variants, without degraded functionality. While Sun has established methods for dealing with multiple architectures on a server, the administrator may not adhere to those recommendations. All packages need to be capable of complying with the administrators' reasonable wishes regarding installation.