Installing Packages in Linux

I always forget the exact commands required to extracting my little tarballs onto my Linux system after downloading them. But wait! Before you go downloading a tarball, try to download a pre-compiled package using a package management tool like Yum, APT, Aptitude, Pacman, Portage, Yast, etc.. You will save LOTS of time by doing this. However, for the sake of this post, let’s pretend you’ve entered the grim and dark world of un-compiled packages, and now you must must make the sacred journey into adulthood by downloading and compiling your own packages. (There’s still time to back out… are you sure there isn’t a pre-compiled package out there?)

Unpacking a .gz File

For this example, let’s say that you’ve downloaded the file ImageMagick-6.4.4-10.tar.gz (e.g. by using the wget utility or by uploading the package to your Linux server).

tar -zxvf ImageMagick-6.4.4-10.tar.gz

This will extract the file to the current directory.

* You may need preface the commands using the sudo command… as in “sudo make me a sandwich“. You may also want to read the man page: man tar

After Unpacking…

cd into the new directory and read the documentation! It’s a bummer, but when you roll your own stuff here, you gotta RTFM. That’s just part of the sacred ritual. Be glad it’s not adult circumcision we’re talking about.

In a nutshell, the compilation process usually goes a little something like this:

  1. ./configure [with options listed]
  2. make
  3. make install

Each of these steps may take a while… compiling and testing and such. Go get some coffee.