Non-standard X11 Paths

DJ Lucas dj at
Tue Jun 12 12:10:44 PDT 2007

Dan Nicholson wrote:
> Currently there are a couple issues with packages finding X11
> components when they are installed to non-standard locations. 
How many packages are we talking about?

> I'm not
> sure about the exact definition of non-standard, but it seems that
> widely accepted prefixes are /usr/X11R5, /usr/X11R6 and /usr/X11. /usr
> obviously works, too, since it's the standard toolchain search path.
> Here are the two problem areas I know about.
As already mentioned in the book, /usr and /opt/<whatever> are currently
the only acceptable prefixes for release 7, and I'm personally not so
confident with /usr, but FHS leaves admin/user separation to the admin's
taste.  /usr/X11R6 was acceptable for release 6 and does have a specific
mention in the current FHS (2.3).

> 1. Autotooled packages
> Randy had the idea that we should just make a symlink at /usr/X11R6 toprotect against these situations. I'd like to propose for Xorg that we do `ln -svnf $XORG_PREFIX /usr/X11' if your prefix isn't one of the
> "standard locations" I listed above. I'm not a fan of these kind of
> compatibility hacks, but I think it's gonna be necessary until
> pkg-config is used for X (a long ways off, if ever). There is
> convenient location for this here:
I don't like them either, but unfortunately, something has got to give
somewhere.  As you mentioned, in an ideal world, everything that wants
to take advantage of X11R7 uses pkg-config.  That said, I can't agree
with the symlinks unless you warn the user that they are violating the
FHS, which is showing it's age anyway.

> For XFree86, I don't know what to do. We sort of say that you install
> to /usr/X11R6 or /usr and later make some symlinks like /usr/bin/X11
> -> /usr/X11R6/bin. I don't know the history behind those decisions.
The history for those symlinks is in the FHS linked above. 

-- DJ Lucas

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