On Mon, 17 Oct 05 11:43:13 GMT
Something like this could be set up in Unix (multiple "default" configurations, with the choice of which...
I think you misunderstand what it is - a tar file is just an archive file which can be unpacked (the format was originally designed for tape archives - in fact it stands for tape archive and retrieval) - if you want to install an application with several files and perhaps subdirectories that someone else has prepared (or even that you have prepared elsewhere) then a tar file is a convenient way of shipping it.
However it is normal that the directories on the default search path are completely under the control of the system administrator so that you can count on (for example) the program that lets you create a directory or set permissions on it being where it should be and doing what it says on the tin and not having been replaced by something that plays music. The feature is not allowing anyone else to futz with the stuff that the sysadmin put there - which IMHO is a basic requirement.
To make the sysadmins life easier when adding thrid party applications to the system they are usually packaged in a slightly more sophisticated format with their dependencies on other packages listed and the files they install listed so that they can be cleanly removed and-or updated as needed without requiring the poor sysadmin to hunt all over the system for their files. Most of these packaging systems do allow you to specify an alternative installation location to their default and so can be used by normal users too just by specifying a place you have write access to - although in that case they are not always clever about finding their dependencies in the normal location and force you to install them in your private area too.
On any unix like system you can do exactly that perfectly easily - although it is up to the other users to add your directory to their search paths wherever they want it to appear you cannot add it to their search paths yourself (unless they have placed the definition of their search path in a file you can write).
In unix you'll need to set permissions to allow end too :)
I don't think I was confused. These, distribution, installation, and end, are three separate procedures (although Java-flavors are mixing them up alarmingly). This...
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