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Old 16th January 2011, 09:25 PM
namphcar22 Offline
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tool to monitor install scripts

Some third-party programs like matlab provide install scripts or binaries which don't have an uninstall option. So uninstalling these programs is a real pain, since I have to track down each of the hundreds of files scattered across my filesystem. Is there some way to monitor the filesystem changes made by these installers? For shell scripts I can in principle examine the script, but this isn't possible for binary installers.
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Old 16th January 2011, 10:02 PM
stevea Offline
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Re: tool to monitor install scripts

You can use "ltrace -f" or "strace -f" and then select or grep through the resulting voluminous output. Not really that bad an approach.

You can enable audit and configure to record file creation. Again not that bad, but you'll need to learn the audit configuration and the audit-log review tools.

You could mount a union file system over the root, /home, ... and then all the file system changes will be trapped in the upper union layer.

Personally I think strace or ltrace mehods are the quick&dirty but fully effective approaches on the list. Maybe like (off the top of my head)
strace -f -etrace=open,creat somecommand 2>/tmp/installtrace.txt

This will show all of the sycalls for open(2) and creat(2) , but will include a lot of extraneous ones, like when the execuable needs a shared library or reads some file..
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Old 17th January 2011, 02:59 AM
Mariusz W Offline
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Re: tool to monitor install scripts

Quote:
Originally Posted by namphcar22 View Post
Some third-party programs like matlab provide install scripts or binaries which don't have an uninstall option. So uninstalling these programs is a real pain, since I have to track down each of the hundreds of files scattered across my filesystem. Is there some way to monitor the filesystem changes made by these installers? For shell scripts I can in principle examine the script, but this isn't possible for binary installers.
I know this pain, I experienced it too many times when installing some very complex mathematical packages.

Long ago I arrived at the following solution and still use it: not to perform the final step, i.e., the system install. Keep all the binaries, libraries, and data files in a single directory tree where you either unpacked or compiled the package sources, and create instead symbolic links to the executables.
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  #4  
Old 17th January 2011, 07:14 PM
namphcar22 Offline
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Re: tool to monitor install scripts

Thanks, I'll try the strace idea.
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