Until you start installing packages on Linux/UNIX systems using sources, you will always be very dependent on your distribution or vendors to stay up to date.

Installing from sources may not be for everyone, but I recommend it for novice and advanced Linux/UNIX users alike, as it offers tremendous benefits:

  1. Ability to fine tune the package according to your needs
  2. You almost always end up with a much faster application
  3. You get the latest security updates immediately
  4. You learn a whole lot

So how do you install from sources?

  • Download the package from URL upstream

The package may be in several forms: PACKAGE.tar.gz, PACKAGE.tar.bz2, PACKAGE.xz, or clone from a github repository i.e. git clone [URL]

  • Unpack the package inside your sources directory e.g. /usr/src:
    tar zxvf PACKAGE.tar.gz -C /usr/src
    tar jxvf PACKAGE.tar.bz2 -C /usr/src
    tar xvf PACKAGE.tar.xz -C /usr/src

  • IMPORTANT: Read the following two files if available: README (or README.md) and INSTALL. I can not stress how important it is to read the above files. The package
    maintainer will usually include notes on how to compile and install the package

  • Change to source directory of the package
    cd /usr/src/PACKAGE-VERSION/

  • Compile
    ./configure

  • Install
    make && make install

Thats it! If all went well especially during the make, you should be able to run your package. Sometimes, the configure command will specify that
a dependency is missing. You will need to install it before you proceed. This is why it is important that you read the README and INSTALL files.