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I just posted a thread over in the software section about problems I was having with VLC.
I decided to compile the dependancies separately, and then compile VLC.
It took me a while, but I found it more fun and, as a new linux user it taught me a fair amount about my system and how programs are installed and shared libraries etc.
I did, however, get a couple of comments regarding why I didn't use the RPM's.
My question is, what do you prefer?
RPM's or compiling programs yourself.
Obviously, RPM's are much easier, but personally, I find self compilation much more fun.
RPMs may be fine , if you're using an RPM-based distro "out-of-the-box".
If , however , this is not the case (ie.- a different distro , or a heavilly customised one) you're bound to end up in what's generally referred to as "DEP-HELL"(dependancy-hell) and you'll find the good 'ole "./configure make & make install"-jiggle will yield you far more satisfying results.
After all : RPM is limited to just a few of the distros out there and a PITA regarding dependancy-handling.
"./configure make & make install" will work on ANY linux distro.
Plus : once you get a bit more comfortable with compiling from source , you'll find you'll have more control over your system.
The only downside of it is that it takes more time.
The distros RedHat/Fedora Core, Mandriva, Suse, and many other minor distros are all RPM-based distros. RPMs are nice in that it keeps a database of which files belong to each package in the system, so that it is very easy to update or remove packages (which is often not the case for compiled packages). Most distros come with a tool like Yum, SmartPM, Apt, etc. that installs / updates / removes packages from repositories and automatically resolves all dependencies. I have never had to worry about dependencies. These tools have features like the ability to search for a package that provides a specific program or file, etc. They can also automatically update all the packages in the system.
Using a package manager like rpm or apt-get in my case is very convenient and keeps my system updated with not much effort. The problem is the packages in the repositories are not always exactly what you want. If I need something really new, experimental or highly customized I'll usually complie it from source.
Most packages are best installed using your package manager but in some instances compiling from source is the best option to get the latest package or work around some limitations in the packages provided by your distro.
Linux has package management for a reason. I don't find it very fun to enumerate all the dependencies and crap prior to installing something. I know how to use gcc and make; I want things to just work now.