I realise that Debian is more aimed at big iron, but even there it could be useful. I have webspace and shell on a Debian server, and it is truly painful to do stuff like install Django from source. It would be nice to just have a command like "apt-get install --single-user django" and let magic happen.
Off the top of my head, obvious issues are:
- dependencies would have to be trackable on a per-user basis (which would also mean unprivileged users getting access to the system-wide dependency db)
- you'd need separate locations for system-wide vs per-user installation for every package (this would break some of them)
- per-user installations would have to be convertible to system-wide installations as and when the sysadmin got round to installing stuff
None of these seem insurmountable.
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