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Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks, Second Edition by Ernest E. Rothman, Brian Jepson

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Compiling Unix Source Code

Many of the differences between Mac OS X and other versions of Unix become apparent when you try to build Unix-based software on Mac OS X. Most open source Unix software uses GNU autoconf or a similar facility, which generates a configure script that performs a number of tests of the system—especially of the installed Xcode Tools—and finishes by constructing one or more makefiles. After the configure script has done its job, you run the make command to first compile, and, if all goes well, install the resulting binaries.

Tip

Most tarballs will include a configure script, so you do not need to generate it yourself. However, if you retrieve autoconf-managed source code from a CVS archive, you will have to run autoconf.sh manually to generate the configure file.

In most cases, it’s pretty easy to compile a Unix application on Mac OS X. After unpacking the tarball and changing to the top-level source code directory, just issue the following three commands to compile the application:

./configure
make 
make install

Warning

Mac OS X web browsers are configured to invoke StuffIt Expander on compressed archives. So, if you click on a link to a tarball, you may find that it gets downloaded to your desktop and extracted there. If you’d prefer to manage the download and extraction process yourself, Control-click (or right-click) on the link so you can specify a download location.

Also, because the Mac OS X HFS+ filesystem is case-insensitive, watch out for tarballs ...

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