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Basically I want

  1. apt-get's dependency resolving ability, and
  2. to compile packages with customized options (such as the loader path).

Can that be done with the apt-* suite? If not, perhaps I can try to set up Portage? (which may be difficult on a Debian-based system?)

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So I tried Portage... Installing Portage on a non-Gentoo-based system is much easier than I thought!

They have a port named Gentoo Prefix. I followed the bootstrapping guide and it worked flawlessly (almost, except that I need to clear MAKEFLAGS=-j for groff-1.21 to build). It did take a lot of time to build, though.

The greatest things about Gentoo Prefix is that I can keep it separate from the system's package manager and it doesn't require root privilege. I played with the USE flags and CFLAGS a little bit and the build process seems to be very flexible.

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I came across this while cleaning up my own low score/bad answers from way back. Your answer is definately better than mine, so mind selecting it as such? ;p –  Journeyman Geek Jul 21 '12 at 7:35
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