23COMPILING PROGRAMS

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In this chapter, we will look at how to build programs by compiling source code. The availability of source code is the essential freedom that makes Linux possible. The entire ecosystem of Linux development relies on free exchange between developers. For many desktop users, compiling is a lost art. It used to be quite common, but today, distribution providers maintain huge repositories of precompiled binaries, ready to download and use. At press time, the Debian repository (one of the largest of any of the distributions) contains more than 68,000 packages.

So why compile software? There are two reasons.

  • Availability. Despite ...

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