Install CLI executables from Composer packages globally

dev-master 2018-01-31 11:08 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2023-03-13 08:08:29 UTC


poser is an alternative implementation of Composer's global command that installs packages in a system-wide location. CLI executables from packages are automatically available in PATH, just like they were in PEAR.

Composer is a great tool, but let's face it: Its global command is slightly mis-named: Packages installed with it end up in Composer's home directory, which is derived from the current user's home directory. So "global" here really means user-level as opposed to system-level, which is what PEAR did.

poser attempts to bridge that gap: It installs packages into a single location (/usr/local/share/poser) regardless of which user triggered the command, and it automatically symlinks the bin files of installed packages into /usr/local/bin. This means command-line utilities of Composer packages will be available in the shell immediately to all users, without any fiddling in /etc/profile or other fun places in the bowels of the OS.


The command line syntax and all behavior is exactly as they are in Composer, so you can use their documentation to get an overview of all commands. The only difference is that the global command is currently forbidden. Not so much because it would be impossible to implement, but rather because it doesn't really make much sense to use poser for that. It is meant as a specialised version of Composer for packages you want to install system-wide:

# Install PHPUnit and create symlink for phpunit
poser require phpunit/phpunit

# Uninstall PHPUnit and remove symlink
poser remove phpunit/phpunit

# You can use other commands and arguments as in Composer
poser show --installed


From git

Clone this repo, change into the main directory, and run composer:

git clone
cd poser
php composer.phar install

Afterwards, poser will be available in your PATH and you can start installing packages.

It may seem a bit cumbersome to keep the git repo around, but the alternative currently looks like this:

Via Composer

First, you must add "minimum-stability": "alpha" to composer.json in Composer's home directory (typically /home/[username]/.composer on Linux). If the file doesn't exist yet, create one with this content:

    "minimum-stability": "alpha",
    "require": {

(Ironically, this is necessary because Composer's current release does not meet its own default minimum-stability requirement of stable..)

Afterwards, you can use Composer to install poser globally:

php composer.phar global require openpsa/poser:dev-master

You will have to link poser into your PATH yourself, because there is no way to do this automatically without having a dedicated installer package, which would be doable, but seems a bit excessive right now.


poser is a quickly-written proof of concept, because I expect that the Composer team will at some point come up with an implementation of its behavior directly in the core. This is just meant to hold us over until then, so there are some limitations:

  • /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/share/poser are hardcoded ATM (but they could be made configurable with relatively little effort)
  • Windows is not supported currently. I guess it could be made to work, so pull requests are welcome
  • obviously, normal Unix file permission rules still apply. So you should make sure that all users that are supposed to use globally installed utilities actually have access to /usr/local/share/poser
  • if you uninstall poser (via composer or by deleting the git repo), you will have to remove the poser symlink in /usr/local/bin manually