Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 07-04-2003, 04:19 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2003
Posts: 20

Rep: Reputation: 0
Binaries? Source code?


I was wondering what was exactly the difference between a binary and source. Because they often give you the choice to download the binaries or the source.

Is there a difference in the installation procedures? One is an executable, the other one is not? What do i need to download if i want to run the application?

Thx, i'm very confused.

Old 07-04-2003, 04:21 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: California
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,181

Rep: Reputation: 49
The source code is simply that; all the code that the program uses to run. These files (generally tar.gz) need to be gunzipped, untarred, and then generally ./configure 'd, make 'd, and make install 'd. Think of binaries like Windows .EXE files; it's the executable part of the program. With the source code, though, it is possible to customize the install and tailor it to your needs through the ./configure process
Old 07-04-2003, 04:40 PM   #3
LQ Guru
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: New Jersey
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 1,445

Rep: Reputation: 47
Programmers write programs in source code. C, Java, etc. Unfortunatly, computers actually can not read this code, its only "human readable".

Computers speak in machine code (binary, 0s and 1s). So a binary is just that. A program where the source code has been converted ("compiled" is the usual term) into machine ready code.

When you compile (./configure, make) something, all you are doing is converting source --> binary. So a binary makes it easier for you.
Old 07-04-2003, 06:17 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: London
Posts: 548

Rep: Reputation: 31
If you're a newbie, I strongly suggest using some sort of binary. That way, you can get help keeping track of dependencies. Personally, having gone through depency hell already, i now use debian, with it's handy apt-get feature. to install something, just apt-get <package>. That way, it'll automaticaly install any dependencies for you.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to convert Assembly code to "C" source code ssg14j Programming 2 08-01-2005 01:48 PM
update apt with source compiled binaries wgandhi Debian 1 12-20-2004 04:13 AM
Looking for GIMP SMP source or binaries.... Thaidog Linux - Software 0 09-18-2004 07:36 PM
source and binaries extensions costasm Programming 7 10-14-2003 10:19 AM
need compilers, other stuff to dl, compile from source or rpm binaries - Mandrake 9.1 Kristal Mandriva 6 09-02-2003 11:03 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:39 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration