So there is this Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.1 machine I have. I do not have administrative rights on it. Albeit for a good reason, it makes life very inconvenient. Especially as compared to this another Ubuntu/Debian machine where I have full access.

RHEL 6.1 comes with tools that are, well, dated. So I tend to install the later versions of tools I use regularly. Some of the easy ones include Firefox, Thunderbird, gPodder and Adobe Reader. These are easy, because the vendors provide simple ‘tar.gz’ packages that I can just inflate and use.

Then there are applications like Pidgin, XMMS2 and Re-Alpine which can be easily compiled from source.

And then there are applications like Google Chrome and LibreOffice which I always want to install. But since they come in RPM packages, installing them without root privileges is next to impossible - or so I thought.


Until recently I was using Chris Staite’s Chromium build. It works well, only it was stuck at version 14.

So I decided to try my luck and inflate the official Google Chrome RPM. So I did the following:

This creates a directory structure under /one/of/my/dirs with chrome installed at /one/of/my/dirs/sys/opt/google/chrome/google-chrome.

Now, either this process is supposed to work, or I was incredibly lucky. But once I pointed LD_LIBRARY_PATH appropriately, chrome launches and works fine! Here’s the launcher I use:

Chrome requires that the chrome-sandbox binary in the Chrome installation directory be installed as root. In my case, this is not the case. So Chrome refuses to launch with sandbox enabled. That is the reason for the --no-sandbox. Obviously, there are security repercussions, and Chrome warns you about that every time it is launched.


This success in installation of Chrome totally boosted my confidence! So I decided to take a stab at that other application that I always wanted to be up-to-date – LibreOffice. Turns out it is easier than Chrome!

All it takes is downloading the right RPMS and inflating them into the same /one/of/my/dirs directory!

And that is it, LibreOffice is installed at /one/of/my/dirs/sys/opt/libreoffice3.4/program/soffice!

Like I said, I am not sure this process is supposed to work, but it did beautifully in my case!