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I need to run an app that uses Adobe Air, but the installer for Adobe Air requires admin permissions. On general security principles, I limit what gets installed as admin user, and Adobe has a bad history when it comes to security, so it doesn't get exempted from my policy. I found that Mac OS X has a feature similar to Linux's LD_PRELOAD, called DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES, which changes the search path for libraries. So I'm wondering if this can be used to fake out installers that unnecessarily require admin permissions so the installer will install to the current user's directory instead of the system level directory. Or is there a better way to accomplish this?

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I considered using a VM, but my machine is already memory constrained and it isn't as user-friendly to have to launch a VM just to use an app. –  brandon Apr 15 '12 at 9:28
    
Is it a regular OS X installer? If so you could try using Pacifist to extract the contents of the installer, and either use Pacifist to install it somewhere else, or just copy the files out manually. iirc well coded OS X apps should find libraries in your user folder as well, but with Adobe, who knows for sure? OS X also has a Containers feature, used to give sandboxed apps their own view of the file-system, but I don't know if you could manipulate that or not. You can find that directory at ~/Library/Containers –  Haravikk Apr 3 at 16:58
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Drag-drop installs can go to an Applications folder at the root of the user's home folder and function without issue, but Adobe has been known for needing hooks in various parts of the OS. For example, a cursory overview of that package shows it wants to install certificates, the flashplayer plugin if not already present, etc. Conceivably, if you could 'snapshot'(using fsevents/dtrace/packaging tools like packagemaker or Composer, etc.) the installation in a VM and track down all the files it sprays on disk, and relocate those wherever applicable to the user folder on your system, AND the Air runtime and App in question could run without failing due to expecting to see resources in hardcoded directories....

In other words, magic 8-ball says 'highly unlikely'.

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