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Version 6 (modified by maxb, 11 years ago) (diff)

Fix confusing muddle of two methods of adding a user to a group by properly describing both.

Debian Packaging

Unlike other Linux distributions, Debian systems use a strict package management system. This system "owns" certain directories. If a user installs files into the directories, he is likely to corrupt the system. Unfortunately, the current TurboGears install instructions for *nix systems will override filesystem permissions, deposit files ino those directories, and corrupt your Debian system (possibly quite badly!). This is listed as bug 273.

Instead of those directions, there are two solutions for installing TurboGears. You can do it through the Debian package system, by trying to create a Debian package representing the python module (method 1). Or you can set up configurations so that the python packaging system will respect the boundaries required by Debian packaging system (method 2).

The second method is recommended. The easy-deb below is not included in Debian stable, seems fairly new, and it will probably be a while before a best practice emerges for integrating the python packaging system with Debian's package management.

1) Through the Debian package system

Ian Bicking noted that there is a python tool for creating Debian packages:

Note, that Bob Tanner, Gustavo Noronha, and Fredrik Steen are working on official TurboGears packages at

This will allow for a simple 'apt-get install turbogears' in the future. There are some policy problems to solve first, however, so don't hold your breath.

2) Debian Sarge and Sid (unstable): Non-root installs

Here $ is your prompt.

  1. Make sure you are a member of the 'staff' group. This group

has permission to write in the '/usr/local' tree. Debian packages set up some empty directories in this tree with the correct permissions so that non-root installs of supplementary modules etc can be done.

The 'id' program will show you what groups you are already a member of. If your username is 'me' and your uid is 1001 then the output of 'id' will appear as shown and you need to list all the present additional groups as well as 'staff' when running 'usermod'. If 'staff' is already listed then you can skip this step.

$ id 
uid=1001(me) gid=1001(mygroup) groups=24(cdrom),29(audio),1001(mygroup)
$ sudo usermod -G 24,29,staff me

Alternatively, a much simpler way, using the Debian 'adduser' tool:

$ sudo adduser me staff

After either method, you need to log out and in again for this to take effect.

  1. Install python2.4-dev. [example: Debian provides methods other than sudo ...]
$ sudo apt-get install python2.4-dev
  1. Create a pydistutils.cfg file in your home directory. [or use vi/emacs/...]
$ cat > ~/.pydistutils.cfg << EOF
install_lib = /usr/local/lib/python2.4/site-packages


Please notice that the easy_install section does not support the $ variables. Just write the complete path.

  1. Run from the Turbogears download page.
$ python2.4 -f --script-dir /usr/local/bin TurboGears

A known-good variant of these instructions is also available at bug ticket 273.