./configure variations

Matt Galvin matt.t.galvin at gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 03:13:47 UTC 2005

On 11/7/05, alex <radsky at ncia.net> wrote:
> I occasionally have a problem with installing some untarred files in
> that ./configure doesn't  work with all of them.  ./configure, by
> itself,  works fine with some untarred files but occasionlly it seems
> that something has to be added to ./configure before running 'make' and
> 'make install'

In most cases the software you are looking for is probably already
availible in Ubuntu without having to compile anything. At any rate,
that is not your question...

> Does anyone know of any documentation that really explains those special
> cases where
> ./configure needs a little help?

./configure is a script that you run which sets up various software
compile time options. These options usually dictate which components
will get compiled and where they should be installed.

Usually with most source code you can just ./configure and by default
the default options will be compiled and installed into /usr/local. If
you, for example you want to change this install location you set
--prefix=/some/path. There are some common options such as --prefix,
--mandir, etc... that are a defacto standards but every application is
different and every developer is different so it is hard to find
general documentation since each ./configure script is different. The
only stead fast commonality is that ./configure configures compile
time options in a standard format, i.e, --option=value. And this is
not even *always* true.

./configure --help will give you a list of possibile compile time
options for that source code. Very often different package have
different options, options that only that source code

There are not really any hard rules that dictate what options are what
and why. If the developer of the application was kind enough to
provide proper descriptions than ./configure --help should tell you
what the options for the source in question are, what they do, what
the options acceptable values are and sometimes even what the current
defaults are.

Additional resource that may help include:


Hope this helps,


> alex
> --
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