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If you are a moderately experienced Linux user you might have come across the word “compiling”. Compiling is done to install a software from the source. You can get most of the software from the software-center and other repositories. You need to compile only if the version in your software-center is old and hasn't been updated even though your system supports it.
Now, let's learn how to compile things from the source.

In order to compile we need some tools. By default, Ubuntu doesn't come with these tools. So we need to install these tools. Let's do this the easy way.
Open a terminal by pressing CTRL+ALT+T or search for it in the dash. Now type the following in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall

And since you may want to get code from some projects with no released version, you should install appropriate version management software.
So, type the following in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install cvs subversion git-core mercurial

Now you should build a common directory for your self where you will be building these packages. You can use /usr/local/src or any other directory. Make the directory writable by primary user account by:

sudo chown $USER /usr/local/src


sudo chmod u+rwx /usr/local/src


Most of the software comes in the form of tar balls. They are compressed archives with extensions .tar.gz or .tar.bz2. Which are just like .zip files in windows. To extract the files you can right click the tar ball and select extract here. You can also extract them from a terminal.
For a .gz file:

tar -xzvf tarballname.tar.gz

For a .bz2 file:

tar -xjvf tarballname.tar.bz2

Now, as we have extracted the tar ball we need to build it now. But wait! We need to satisfy the dependencies. If we install a software using apt-get oraptitude or from the software-center Ubuntu will take care of the dependencies automatically.
But, as we are building from source we need to install the dependencies our self. Open a terminal and change to the directory of the tar ball that we have extracted using

cd <path_to_source>

Now type the following in the terminal:


This command will check to see if you've got all the programs needed to install the program. In most cases you will get an error message about needing a program.
You can install the dependencies by using the software-center or from the terminal using apt-get command.
Now type the following command which does the actual building:


After that type the following in terminal and hit enter:

make install

And that should install your program. You will find your installed program in the dash.

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