Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

A fallback installation routine?

9th November 2007

In a previous sustained spell of Linux meddling, the following installation routine was one that I encountered rather too often when RPM’s didn’t do what I required of them (having a SUSE distro in a world dominated by a Red Hat standard didn’t make things any easier…):

tar xzvf progname.tar.gz

cd progname

The first line extracts from a gziped tarball and the second one changes into the new directory created by the extraction. For bzipped files use:

tar xjvf progname.tar.bz2

The next three lines below configure, compile and install the package, running the command in its own shell.



su -c make install

Yes, the procedure is a bit convoluted but it would have been fine if it always worked. My experience was that the process was a far from foolproof one. For instance, an unsatisfied dependency is all that is needed to stop you in your tracks. Attempting to install a GNOME application on a KDE-based system is as good a way to encounter this result as any. Other horrid errors also played havoc with hopeful plans from time to time.

It shouldn’t surprise you to find that I will be staying away from the compilation/installation business with my main Ubuntu system. Synaptic Package Manager and its satisfactory dependency resolution fulfill my needs well and there is the Update Manager too; I’ll be leaving it to Canonical to do the testing and make the decisions regarding what is ready for my PC as they maintain their software repositories. My past tinkering often created a mess and I’ll be leaving that sort of experimentation for the safe confines of a virtual machine from now on…

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