How to install Autopackage

Q I have been wanting to install Autopackage 1.0, but don't have a clue how to do so. I have it in my home folder and the command tells me it is a directory, but what next? Do you treat this like a tar file or is there some other wizardry I have to do? I would so like to use Autopackage as it seems to be an answer to my prayers for easy installs. I can install RPMs OK but can never get a tar to work. My distro is Mandrake10.1 PowerPack.

A Autopackage is designed to be so easy to use that you don't even need to install it. As soon as you try to install something from a .package file (an 'Autopackage'), it will download the latest files it needs before installing, first asking your permission. You don't even need to copy the Autopackage to your hard disk. To see how it works, open a terminal and type su - to become root, then

bash /mnt/cdrom/Magazine/HotPicks/

It will ask whether you want it to download Autopackage support files. Answer 'Y' and it will do it this one time, installing the support files for future use. Then it will proceed to install the package. Installing from tarballs can require a little patience the first time, but it gets easier. Unpack the tarball with one of these lines, depending on the type of tarball (gzip or bzip2):

tar xzf somepackage.tar.gz
tar xjf somepackage.tar.bz2

You may find files named README and INSTALL in the directory containing the unpacked files. These will normally explain how to go about installing the software. The most common stumbling block when installing from source on an RPM-based distro like Mandrake, is that the ./configure stage throws up errors about libraries not being installed, when your package manager clearly shows that they are there. This is because RPM packages are normally split into two files: a standard RPM containing the program or library, and a '-devel' RPM containing the library header files. These are not needed to use the program, but you will need them if you want to compile new software against it. So if configure complains about missing libfoo, check that libfoo-devel is also installed.

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