> > Packages not offering a --prefix option or (Better) some sort of
> > DESTDIR/--root option often don't get installed by me.  It's just too
> > much work to pack up properly in case I want to remove it -- besides, if
> > it's worth using, it gets installed on at least five systems -- if I
> > package it, I only have to do the hard work (making it non-invasive)
> > once.
> 
> Please excuse my ignorance, but what's the difference/benefit?

With --prefix, you're telling a package it's final home: /usr,
/usr/local, or /, or /opt/ruby/pacages/ruby-foo. It may very well
hard-code those values in as places to look for data -- in applications
written in C, it's very common for the compiler to compile in
"/usr/share/appname" as the data directory if /usr is the prefix --
obviously, using --prefix=/tmp/builder/package/usr is bad if the app,
once installed, is going to look in /tmp for it's data files.

DESTDIR is a common addition to Makefiles for this purpose, and some
programs like RPM and Poldek have a --root option that has the same
idea:  tell the system it's final prefix, but say that during
installation, it will prepend another root that won't be remembered
after install.

Ari