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I want to build multiple versions of libreoffice on a machine (Debian 6) and want to test these versions against a set of test cases automatically. I also want to test the given libreoffice version by compiling/linking it against multiple versions of allowed GTK and other dependencies.

What is the best way to organize the set up for this type of sandboxing and testing? Any pointers in this directions are also welcome.

I don't want to incur the overheads of setting up of multiple virtual machines for this job, as the VMs take a lot of space and CPU bandwidth and also make it difficult to insert/extract data to and from them.

Edit: Information about any Linux distro will do, I will try to adapt it to Debian.

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    A comment since I don't know the exact answer on Debian. On RedHat, I do this by extracting the RPMs into a separate dir, and have a wrapper script that sets LD_LIBRARY_PATH. You should be able to do the same by extracting the Debian packages. – Rich Homolka May 22 '13 at 18:55
  • I added an edit so now you can turn it into answer. Pls also provide some details about the wrapper script. – Tem Pora May 23 '13 at 2:06
  • Done so. Actually, OpenOffice/LibreOffice already has a wrapper script that handles libraries. – Rich Homolka May 23 '13 at 14:41
  • this may sound a silly question, can you point out where exactly are these wrapper scripts located? but the default build script doesn't seem to provide any such script, well, at least to me :( – Tem Pora May 23 '13 at 17:39
  • Look for the 'soffice' shell script. I've never built from source, but I see in all the packages, so it may be part of the build output. – Rich Homolka May 23 '13 at 17:53
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What I've done on my CentOS (Redhat/RPM based distro) box:

  1. Download the RPMs. Store to a temp dir.
  2. Create a directory where the programs will live.
  3. Extract the files to the directory. For an rpm
    • for FILE in /tmp/dir/*.rpm ; do rpm2cpio $FILE | cpio -iv --make-directories
  4. Find the "base" dir for the executable:
    • find /path/to/install/dir -name soffice -type f | xargs dirname
  5. set PATH to include above directory.

For Debian, I'd substitute step 3. with something like:

for FILE in /tmp/dir/*.rpm ; do dpkg-deb -X $FILE ; done

But I don't have a debian based distro to confirm that the layouts are what I'd expect. I'd also look at dpkg-deb --fsys-tarfile archive $FILE | tar -xvf - if dpkg-deb -X doesn't work.

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