16 Introduction to Compiling Software from C Source Code

Most nonproprietary third-party Unix software packages come as source code that you can build and install. One reason for this is that Unix (and Linux itself) has so many different flavors and architectures, it would be difficult to distribute binary packages for all possible platform combinations. The other reason, which is at least as important, is that widespread source code distribution throughout the Unix community encourages users to contribute bug fixes and new features to software, giving meaning to the term open source.

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