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Installing packages from source in Gnu/Linux Print E-mail

Packages come in two formats in Gnu/Linux

1.) rpm packages.

2.) Source packages.

In this document we will be installing source packages.

Source packages generally come in 2 compressed formats

xmms-1.2.10.tar.bz2 --compressed with bunzip(bzip)

xmms-1.2.10.tar.gz --compressed with gunzip(gzip)

and others also

1.)first of all we need to extract these packages .

so copy the packages in your Gnu/Linux partition. for example in /plugins directory.

go to that directory and extract them as follows

[root@gaurav root]# cd /plugins/

[root@gaurav plugins]# tar xjf xmms-1.2.10.tar.bz2

[root@gaurav plugins]#


[root@gaurav root]# cd /plugins/

[root@gaurav plugins]# tar xvzf xmms-1.2.10.tar.gz

[root@gaurav plugins]#

here we pass the arguments

xjf --for uncompressing packages of the type (.tar.bz2)

xvzf --for uncompressing packages of the type (.tar.gz)

more on these attributes can be found by

[root@gaurav root]# man tar

if the packages are in some another format then u can extract them also by

a.)copy the package in your Gnu/Linux partition

b.)Right click on the package

c.)choose extract here

this method surely takes some time more that the command line version but if you are having any problems in extracting with the command line then u may proceed in this manner

2.)after packages have been extracted then u need to compile them and then install these.

you can go through a file Readme or INSTALL

in all the install readme files you will find the procedure for installing source packages

I am briefing the procedure down here

a.) go to the directory containing the extracted packages

[root@gaurav root]# cd /plugins/xmms-1.2.10

[root@gaurav xmms-1.2.10]#

b.) './configure' will check if the files necessary for installation are available or not

[root@gaurav xmms-1.2.10]# ./configure

c.)' make' will compile the package

[root@gaurav xmms-1.2.10]# make

d.)'make install' will install the executable in '/usr/local/bin' (generally)

after these you can run your new packages by their name only or by giving the full path

[root@gaurav xmms-1.2.10]# xmms


[root@gaurav xmms-1.2.10]# /usr/local/bin/xmms

Tips on installing packages

i) Sometimes it may happen that during './configure' u may get a message that such file is not found, say


it may happen that the file is in your system but it is not in those directories where the compiler might be

searching so in that case first lookout whether if your system does have that file

first of all update your database of files by

[root@gaurav root]# updatedb

then you will be able to locate your file by

[root@gaurav root]# locate libasound.so





[ root@gaurav root]#

Now you have 2 options

Either make a link or copy the entire file

for example libasound.so is in ‘/usr/local/lib’

and we want it to be in ‘/lib’

To make a link for that file

[root@gaurav root]# ln -s /usr/lib/libasound.so /lib/libasound.so

this will create a link in /lib for the file libasound.so

so when the compiler look out for libasound .so in /lib instead it will find a link there which will redirect it


alternatively you can copy that file from ‘/usr/local/lib’ to ‘/lib’ but then some program might be

looking for the same file in ‘/usr/local/lib’

so it is advisable to use links since they save a lot of space

ii) Try to uncompress the packages with the command line options.

uncompressing with the right-click option may make your system to stop responding

if your system stops responding in that case

Ctrl+Esc will bring the process table

choose the process which may cause such activity

in this case you have 'Ark' utility responsible for uncompressing the package

so choose the appropriate process and kill it to remove it from the process table

iii) See that you have appropriate space for extracting and compiling the packages sometime

they take a lot of space for example

While I extract my kernel of 32 Mb it uncompressed to around 130Mb and to compile it I need an extra space of around 150 Mb!!!

iv) after the packages have been installed you can remove the object files from the package by

[root@gaurav xmms-1.2.10]# make clean

this will remove the object(.o)files which were required only during compile time

also you can remove the package instead from /plugins to save disk space since aftar the command ‘make install’ the required libraries and other files have been installed in ‘/usr’

v) installing with rpm is easier since they are precompiled and they take less time but they are version and distribution specific so you will not get .rpm files for your version of Gnu/Linux, instead source packages are the same so you will get them everywhere


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