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Old 03-19-2004, 01:58 AM   #1
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Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Slackware 9
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Stupid question # 2. Getting programs I download to work.

I feel really stupid asking this, but here I go anyway. I also know this is vague on details, but stay with me.

I have had very little luck getting any program I download that requires me to "make" it to work. I eventually got it to work with my ALSA drivers, but there have been several other programs I've downloaded that require a lot of ./configurin' and makin' that I just seem to be completely messing up.

Is there a step the newbies often miss? I feel like if I understood more of *what* the commands did, rather than just following the directions in the readme, that I'd have better luck. Is there any place you can point me at that explains the inner goings on of these procedures? Is there some inportant step in my evolution as a linux user that I'm missing?
Old 03-19-2004, 03:24 AM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: FreeBSD 8.2 RELEASE
Posts: 607

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Generally if you have all the dependencies properly installed, you just ./configure, make and make install and you should be golden. Most tarballs come with README and INSTALL files which describe the installation process, dependencies and configuration options. Basically, configure checks your system for dependencies, paths, kernel headers, processor etc. Make actually does the compiling and linking and then make install installs the binaries that were made during make and whatever other files (eg documentation) that are part of the deal. Check out for a more indepth description, I'm sure there's lots of stuff in Google about it too. Also, whenever you are posting problems, you also need to cut and paste whatever errors you're getting - it makes it a lot easier to diagnose the problem.

Last edited by Kovacs; 03-19-2004 at 03:26 AM.
Old 03-19-2004, 03:36 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Australia
Distribution: Ubuntu, Fedora 10
Posts: 632

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when you compile using ./configure; ./make; ./make install

you are compiling specific for your system.

./configure - gathers information about your system for the installation.

./make - compiles the program for you.

./make install - installs the program all over you system

when compiling you sometimes will need to set flags to get things working typing ./configure --help or something similar should list the flags that are possible.

An alternative to compiling from source and my preferred option is to download .rpm files so that all of this has been done for you and you are able to remove/upgrade easily because all information about the program is in the rpm database (Much like Add/Remove programs in Windows).

If you need an rpm go to you can find many rmps here
Old 03-19-2004, 04:11 AM   #4
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: hopefully not here
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 2,038

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is a script, not a program, and its located in the directory the source code is in, it should come with the source, some programs don't have this, so you skip to "make"

does not exist,, the "./" part tell bash (one of the most popular shells) to look in the current directory

make install

sometimes programs are a bit more strict and require
make all
make install

or in rarer cases its some other thingy like
make everything
make install


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