Installing from source or deb packages

Derek Broughton news at
Fri Nov 18 16:27:49 UTC 2005

Timothy A. Holmes wrote:

> 1. how do install from source under Ubuntu - most of my linux experience
> is under Fedora Core 2, 3, 4, and there I know the
> ./configure
> Make
> Make install
> Routine.  But I am wondering how to do the equivalent stuff on Ubuntu

Exactly the same.
> 2.    how do I know what .deb packages are good for ubuntu, and which
> ones are not. 

If they don't come from a Ubuntu repo, then you have no guarantees (and
can't possibly have).  However, my usual advice is that if you must get it
from another source, try to stay away from anything with libc dependencies
(and even that's becoming less of a problem, as both Debian and Ubuntu are
moving into the newest versions.  

Ubuntu package versions are supposed to be higher than corresponding Debian
versions (I've seen at least one case where it wasn't true, but that was
fixed within a day or two with a Ubuntu upgdate), so installing pure Debian
packages won't usually remove Ubuntu packages, but it can happen.  Never
include non-Ubuntu repositories in your /etc/apt/sources.list except for a
single run to download something specific, or with very careful pinning.

Generally, if I want a package not available in Ubuntu, I'll go to the
package's site, download the .deb with the browser, and use dpkg -i to
install it.  Then use "aptitude -f install" to fix up any dependencies -
that way only the one package can be installed from the potentially
hazardous repo.

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