I run the Testing version of Debian which has most of the up-to-date versions.
I usually install the newest versions of applications that aren't in testing yet, but are available in unstable, by downloading the source from unstable and compile it on my testing box. Therefore I have the source repositories of unstable in my 'sources.list' instead of the source repositories of testing. By using 'apt-get build-dep packagename
' you install the packages needed to build the package on your system. 'apt-get source -b packagename
' downloads the source from unstable and builds a deb package from it.
If a package isn't available in the Debian repositories, but it has a debian/rules section in the source (for example MPlayer), I build a deb package using the 'DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS=" compile_options
" fakeroot debian/rules binary' command. I install the created deb package using 'dpkg -i'.
If a source doesn't have a debian/rules section I create a deb package using the 'checkinstall' tool. So I use the './configure' and './make' commands to configure and compile the source. Then I use the 'checkinstall -D' command instead of the './make-install' command to install the program and create a deb package.
So as you see, I always use deb packages, it's a lot easier when you want to remove a program. But I'm absolutely not lazy.
You should try 'checkinstall', it's a great tool.