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For various reasons, our system administrator finds Ubuntu to be too cutting-edge for our production workstation, and we have now installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 (RHEL). I'm not terribly familiar with the OS but just playing around with it I noticed that many packages that I depend on for scientific computing with Python are either non-existent or horribly out-of-date.

I'm now looking to install as much as possible in my home folder. It has been simple enough to install Python and NumPy, but I have been getting errors installing SciPy and still need to install some other packages.

However, this isn't a question about installing any specific packages. I'm more interested in the best method to maintain your own packages in your home folder on Linux, specifically for a Python installation. My line of thinking is that I might need to install things like ATLAS, Boost.Python, etc. manually and would benefit from some form of package management that does not interfere with RHEL. My wish would be something like MacPorts, which I'm used to in Mac OS X.

Any ideas on package management in my home folder? I have a CentOS VM on Mac OS X to test with, which I understand is 100% compatible with RHEL.

EDIT
I think I've solved this issue now using Sage and the EPEL repository. Basically I compiled Sage into my home folder without issues (at least on CentOS) and was able to install extra Python packages that I needed (and R, as an added bonus).

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Python comes with it's own package manager - pip ( pip.openplans.org ) –  Sathya Oct 30 '10 at 21:02
    
pip may handle Python packages, yes, but I'm looking to include upstream non-Python dependencies as well that are either not included in RHEL or are too old to be built against for the Python packages I need. –  fideli Oct 31 '10 at 5:03
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I know what I propose would maybe be a little bit overblown but... What about a chroot environment with debian sid or ubuntu that just has python and it's dependencies and it is managed by a bulletproof manager like apt?

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That sure is a bit over the top but certainly provides the most flexibility. –  fideli Nov 1 '10 at 12:51
    
Yup, and nowadays with debootstrap the size and manageability is quite nice. Besides, for a production environment it provides a little bit of isolation so are less likely to damage anything inside the chroot. –  celebdor Nov 1 '10 at 13:22
    
Your answer is good, and I will certainly consider it for future use. Thank you. –  fideli Nov 6 '10 at 15:25
    
You're welcome ;-) –  celebdor Nov 7 '10 at 0:41
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