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Fedora Linux by Chris Tyler

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Installing From Source

Although there are thousands of packages available in RPM format ready to be installed on a Fedora system, there is a lot of open source software (http://opensource.org) that hasn’t been packaged into RPMs. This software can be compiled and installed directly from the source files.

How Do I Do That?

Most open source software follows a certain set of conventions—one that the community has adopted as a de facto standard:

  • The software is packaged in compressed tar format (.tar.gz or .tgz).

  • A configure script is provided, which analyzes the system (by trying to compile many tiny programs and attempting to locate certain programs and files). After this analysis, a Makefile is produced.

  • The Makefile contains the logic to build and to install the package.

  • Basic documentation, including pointers and licensing information, is contained in files with uppercase names such as README, INSTALL, TODO, and LICENSE.

To install software distributed this way:

  1. Obtain the compressed tar file (or tarball) containing the source. You can use a browser to find and download open source software from sites such as http://sourceforge.net.

  2. Unpack the tarball:

  3. $ tar xvzf 
                         
                            xmorph_20040717.tar.gz
                         
    xmorph-current/
    xmorph-current/Makefile.in
    xmorph-current/gtkmorph/
    xmorph-current/gtkmorph/ChangeLog
    xmorph-current/gtkmorph/Makefile.in
    xmorph-current/gtkmorph/README
    xmorph-current/gtkmorph/Makefile.am
    ...(Lines snipped)...
  4. If the file is compressed with bzip2 (usually indicated by a filename that ...

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