Unix fundamentals - compiling software from scratch

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HowTos

Installing software. It’s something that you do quite a lot if you’re like most computer users. On Unix-like systems, there are several different ways you be getting that program however - it’s not necessarily a simple case of double-clicking one setup file.

One of these ways is to download the program’s source code and compile it yourself. This process can be a little tricky to the uninitiated, but has several benefits - including meaning you’ll have the latest copy of the program and you’ll be able to get a copy if you’re using an operating system or distribution where no pre-built packages are available.

Unfortunately, the ways different bits of software are built means that this process can differ slightly depending on exactly what you’re working on. If you’re having problems, it might be you’re dealing with something that’s a little different, so you may have to look for more help.

Let’s dive in!