Saturday, April 28, 2012

Building from source

Sometimes you can't get a simple software to install by one click or you have to enable a feature in its source which wouldn't come with a normal install. You will have to build it for yourself from source.
the procedure is the following
  1. Download the source
  2. Open terminal and unpack the package you downloaded
  3. cd into the unpacked folder
  4. Build it with the standard 3 steps:
In configure you normally have good comments and hence its easy to find what you want or need. Follow tutorial on the website of the software you are working with.

sudo make 
Running make will compile the package for you, this might take a while.

sudo make install
Make install actually installs the compiled package on your system. After this step you should be done.

Keeping track of installations

In Ubuntu you can take advantage of the software centre and with a little help you can build .deb files from your compilation that can be installed through the software centre. This is handy if you want to keep a better track of what's installed on your system.

First you will have to get checkinstall by
sudo apt-get install checkinstall

So with checkinstall you have to do all the steps until make. But instead of running make install, you can run (while in the appropriate folder)
sudo checkinstall -D make install

Using checkinstall Command:
sudo -- running as root, necessary
checkinstall -- call the checkinstall package
-D -- tells checkinstall to create Debian package
make install -- the command that checkinstall has to run and turn into a file

This will create a *.deb package in the folder where you are. You can run this file and install it through the software centre. if later on you want to remove it, you can simply remove it from the software centre as well.

Checkinstall does require some interaction from the user, but it is very straightforward and explained when running. Simply follow the instructions on screen. At the end of the process the created package will be installed automatically on your system.

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