If you really, really want to pretend compile/install, you might look into using unionfs
At my level of knowledge, it was a defensive plan. Now, my two new partitions containing a /home and related / of a Mepis install is a place where I can safely make a real mess with compile mistakes while figuring out how this works.
UNIONFS sounds good, because one can maybe mess about in there without the need for a reboot.
With sda7 and sda8 containing my play-area distro, I even tried this ploy, (pinched from a Gentoo install guide) ..
# mkdir /mnt/distro2
# mount /dev/sda7 /mnt/distro2
# mount -t proc none /mnt/distro2/proc
# chroot /mnt/distro2 /bin/bash
command not found
:| OK - so it failed, but I had hopes I could do "chrooting into another environment" where I could mess about safely. It was maybe not a good plan. I am more of an applications user. To get one installed, I go for the line of least resistance. As a programmer, I am still a total newbie.
The modern Mepis 6.0 is Debian, using the Ubuntu engine. I prefer it because when I have to be root, I like to have straightforward access to graphical tools like KWrite without a permissions configure struggle. Kubuntu requires all commands to be prefaced by "sudo" and a password, (unless you use "sudo su" in a terminal shell).
Its a plain fact that unzipping a source package, then carefully following the generic instructions in the hope you can get it to go without becoming a seasoned script expert, is going to fail quite often. For newbies, its usually the end of the line. Since YAST and YUM stopped working properly in SUSE, my haven is Synaptic in Mepis 6.0
For any other newbies reading this thread, I can recommend..
where I have generally ended up for the time being. But I am open to suggestions..