Ubuntu – How to install a software manually


I have recently learnt how to install programs from the terminal and would like to know the meaning of a few commands that I use to install. For example, I downloaded python 3.2 from source and extract and try to install it but failed. I saw in the explanation in other sites that I must use ./configure and make and make altinstall.

When I do that, it installs the software but not the suggested packages. Why is that? And what's the meaning of ./configure and make and make altinstall? And why do all manually installed software be installed only by this or not at all?

Best Answer

Why doesn't it install suggested packages? / Why do all installed packages have to be done by these commands only or not at all?

The commands you are using is to install the downloaded package alone, when the downloaded package is actually a binary source package. That installs just the downloaded package alone. In order to install .deb packages you can use dpkg and even better why not use trusted packages from Ubuntu sources to download packages? You can use the apt-get command for that.

What's the meaning of ./configure,make and make install?

You can get a full understanding of what these commands are and what they do from this link and this link, but here is a short excerpt from one of them summarizing the commands:

  • You run configure (you usually have to type ./configure as most people don't have the current directory in their search path). This builds a new Makefile.
  • Type make . This builds the program. That is, make would be executed, it would look for the first target in Makefile and do what the instructions said. The expected end result would be to build an executable program.
  • Now, as root, type make install . This again invokes make, make finds the target install in Makefile and files the directions to install the program.
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