Problems running without root
Rpm/yum assume they are managing an entire single system (unlike, say, Zero Install), and generally assume root like privileges. Here is a list of things to think about if you are trying to break this assumption.
Problems running rpm without root
- A significant portion of packaged rpm software assumes that scriptlets will be run as root, to do operations like add users or load SELinux policy into the kernel.
- Rpm assumes root like privileges, so it can change the owner of files and/or permissions, SELinux labels etc.
- Rpm needs to be able to write to at least the rpm DB files, which are owned by root.
- Rpm --relocate is generally considered to be unusable.
Problems running yum without root
- Because of the above rpm problems, yum calls geteuid() and refuses to do certain commands unless that returns 0 (root).
- Even if you just used the yum API, yum would need to be able to write to at least /var/lib/yum/* /var/log/yum.log and a cache directory. Some rpm API calls will be untested (or at least much less tested) if run as non-root.
- --installroot is not intended to change the above, the assumption is that you will still be running yum as root.
- Use mock shell, if you want chroot type environments that normal users can create.
- Use some other packaging format, if you want to be able to "install packages" into $HOME/blah (but there are significant downsides which you should be aware of).