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Re: globally installed packages vs. relocatable Octave

From: Philip Nienhuis
Subject: Re: globally installed packages vs. relocatable Octave
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2014 07:41:13 -0800 (PST)

John W. Eaton wrote
> Currently, the absolute directory name corresponding to a globally
> installed package is saved in the octave_packages file.  This causes
> trouble for relocating an Octave installation.
> It is also possible to set the "prefix" for global package
> installations.  This may be done independently for each installed
> package.  Additionaly, the "prefix" for architecture dependent files
> must be set separately, as well as the location of the file that
> contains the list of installed packages.
> Is it necessary to allow the global prefix to be modified, or would it
> be OK to simply expect that globally installed packages are located in
> a directory under OCTAVE_HOME?  If we could assume this, then the
> package database file would not have to contain the full directory
> name for globally installed packages and it would be easier to
> relocate an installation of Octave that includes globally installed
> packages.
> My motivation here is to make it easier to build a binary package for
> Windows (for example) that includes a set of pre-installed packages
> and that can be easily installed in any directory on the system.

In the past I've copied and moved entire MinGW/Octave installation trees
around on my Windows systems, complete with lots of installed OF packages. 
All that was needed afterwards was a mere "pkg rebuild"; AFAICS only to
fix/update the installation paths (or prefix? I'm not familiar with the
internals of pkg.m).

Fine examples are the 3.6.x binaries & OF package binaries supplied by
Nitzan. After unzipping the preinstalled packages into OCTAVE_HOME, "pkg
rebuild" would just suffice (Nitzan mentioned more options but that was only
because OF package dependencies could also require a specific load order;
e.g., first the java pkg, only then the io pkg).

Note that in those MingW/Octave installations the OF packages were installed
"globally" (i.e., in the <OCTAVE_HOME>\share\octave tree).
For local installations on Windows no relocation is required AFAIK.

I'd expect the vast majority of Windows users to not care much about where
an OF package is to be installed. So simply assuming OF packages to live in
OCTAVE_HOME\share would be very reasonable. Those few Octave-on-Windows
users that want things differently are usually sufficiently knowledgeable to
sort it out themselves.


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