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Thread: Let users install software without admin rights

  1. #1
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    Hardy Heron (Ubuntu Development)

    Lightbulb Let users install software without admin rights

    It makes sense on a multi-user system for individual users to be able to install software that does not require root priveleges to run, like an FTP program or a new game. But with the current apt-get/deb system any software needs admin rights to install since the software gets put into the main filesystem.

    Ubuntu should have some mechanism out-of-the-box that allows individual users to install software into their home directories. And not by having to download the source and extract/compile it, but by double-clicking (like with debs). And yes I do know about Klik. I'm not sure if that is the right tool for the job, it may be. In any case, I think we should propose this for Edgy+1, unless it's already been proposed somewhere?

  2. #2
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    Gutsy Gibbon Testing

    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    Quote Originally Posted by saracen View Post
    It makes sense on a multi-user system for individual users to be able to install software that does not require root priveleges to run, like an FTP program or a new game. But with the current apt-get/deb system any software needs admin rights to install since the software gets put into the main filesystem.

    Ubuntu should have some mechanism out-of-the-box that allows individual users to install software into their home directories. And not by having to download the source and extract/compile it, but by double-clicking (like with debs). And yes I do know about Klik. I'm not sure if that is the right tool for the job, it may be. In any case, I think we should propose this for Edgy+1, unless it's already been proposed somewhere?
    Horrible idea. In a multiuser system the admin has to be the one who controls what users install on their system. As someone who been in a multiuser environment where people are allowed to install crap locally, I can tell you that those machines were screwed up. In a home user environment the admin is the "geek" of the house and is easily bugged to install something.
    Since I get asked alot, I am originally from Ukraine but am Russian by nationality. My nick means specter in Russian.

  3. #3
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    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    Also, you can just set the sudo password to something that everyone will know, at least in a home environment, if most of the users are educated enough to not install random crap (which is harder to do on linux anyways). in a work or school environment, users shouldn't be able to install stuff, period.

  4. #4
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    I agree with Prizrak.

    If you think users should have the right to install software, add them to admin group. If you don't want to add them to the admin group, you obviously don't trust them to install software.

  5. #5
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    Dapper Drake Testing/

    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    Quote Originally Posted by prizrak View Post
    Horrible idea. In a multiuser system the admin has to be the one who controls what users install on their system. As someone who been in a multiuser environment where people are allowed to install crap locally, I can tell you that those machines were screwed up. In a home user environment the admin is the "geek" of the house and is easily bugged to install something.
    You can already just untar stuff in your home folder and run it from there. It's not so different with package management, just simpler for users (makes also uninstalling easier).

  6. #6
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    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    But if you untar stuff in your home folder, it won't affect any of the other users--that's fine.

    And there's no additional functionality that needs to be added for that. Just double-click the .tar.gz and it'll open with File-Roller or Ark and unzip.

    Isn't there a way you can allow (through sudo) users to have access to Synaptic Package Manager and nothing else administrative?

  7. #7
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    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    I think it's an interesting concept.

    Many Linux programs are modeled after the traditional UNIX concept of favouring absolute filepaths, they can't just be untared into you home directory. The program expects certain files to be in certain folders.

    The solution would be to be able to install it in a hidden folder inside your home directory so that it looks like a "virtual" filesystem resembling / (like Klik does it). Not that I'd know how to think up or program something like that, but it's a concept at least.

  8. #8
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    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    But if you untar stuff in your home folder, it won't affect any of the other users--that's fine.

    And there's no additional functionality that needs to be added for that. Just double-click the .tar.gz and it'll open with File-Roller or Ark and unzip.

    Isn't there a way you can allow (through sudo) users to have access to Synaptic Package Manager and nothing else administrative?
    Ubuntu has a nice little GUI for setting up certain permissions for users. Can't remember if it allows you something as granular as allowing to use a package manager. This being Linux however it's not all that difficult to work out sudoing permission for just one program. Not too sure if there is much of a point to doing that but it's possible.
    Since I get asked alot, I am originally from Ukraine but am Russian by nationality. My nick means specter in Russian.

  9. #9
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    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    But if you untar stuff in your home folder, it won't affect any of the other users--that's fine.

    And there's no additional functionality that needs to be added for that. Just double-click the .tar.gz and it'll open with File-Roller or Ark and unzip.

    Isn't there a way you can allow (through sudo) users to have access to Synaptic Package Manager and nothing else administrative?
    You can do it with visudo, but it's not very wise to let users mess with the systemwide software configuration.

    I thought that OP meant users installing stuff into their home directory not into root. Package management would make things a lot easier, depedency handling, icons added into panel menus and binaries in ~/bin/ so that you could start them by typing their name. "user-get" should also have option to either allow software only from strict repositories or be freely configurable by the user.

  10. #10
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    Re: Let users install software without admin rights

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    Isn't there a way you can allow (through sudo) users to have access to Synaptic Package Manager and nothing else administrative?
    I believe so.
    I'm not an expert at setting up sudo but I think you set in the sudoers file a Cmnd_Alias with the path of synapitc, then allow the user to use that alias..

    I think it would be something like..

    Cmnd_Alias SYNAPTIC = /path/to/synaptic

    and then this:

    username ALL = SYNAPTIC

    (or "hostname = SYNAPTIC" or "hostalias = SYNAPTIC" where hostname/hostalias are their respective values)
    http://pi.ytmnd.com/ <-women singing pi is just hot for some reason...
    http://dsj.freeshell.org <- home on the web..

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