I wanted to examine the firmware files of a binary only third-party software. Now they had released their package as a tar.gz and makefiles assumed all libraries to be available in the system library path.
The most interesting discussion on why the developers dont want this functionality in is here. Frankly, I think the discussion is asinine - rather than discuss use cases on why I should not be given this functionality as a non-root user, why not make it simply easier. I mean even Windows does the right thing (since Vista) by incorporating Folder Virtualization.
I think there are two choices to get around the system - chroot/debootstrap method or the fakeroot method. These are quite useful to create a 32 bit toolchain on a 64 bit system as well (that is something that FatELF should take care of nicely! more about that later)
Anyway, I did neither and quickly converted the deb into tgz to work with.
sudo apt-get install fakeroot alien
fakeroot alien -t something.deb