How to install Linux software from source


If you want to install Linux apps from source, Jack Wallen wonders if this is the best solution.

One of the many advantages of Linux is that you can install an application directly from source. Why would you want to do this? In some cases, this means that you can customize the installation to meet very specific needs. Suppose, for example, that you want to install an application that includes options and features not found in the default installation. Or say you want to install the software by optimizing it for your specific hardware. This stuff can be done successfully while installing from source.

But how to achieve such a feat? Well, it’s not always that simple. And, you might find yourself caught in a dependency loop. However, in most cases, the software includes a readme file that describes precisely how to install the application from source (including any dependencies you need).

While installing an app from source might seem a bit daunting for many users, generally speaking, there is a standard walkthrough with the process that can be completed with a few quick commands.

SEE: IT Professional’s Guide to Working Smarter with Linux (Tech Pro Research)


What are these typical source install commands? When you download a source package, extract the downloaded file and navigate to the newly created directory. Issue the command ls to see if there is a readme file. If so, read it and you will likely find easy to follow installation instructions.

Often the installation process works with the following commands: ./configure, Make, and have it installed Where to do and Make. However, there is no guarantee of success. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a dependency nightmare, where you first have to manually install any missing dependencies before the software can be installed. And this is one of the many reasons why installing with a package manager is much more advisable than installing from source.

But when you really want to get your fingers dirty, start with this readme file, where you should find all the information you need to successfully install this app in question. Good luck.

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Image: Jack Wallen


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