[nSLUG] General Linux Question

bdavidso at supercity.ns.ca bdavidso at supercity.ns.ca
Sun Mar 23 16:24:45 AST 2003

On Sun, 23 Mar 2003, Donald Teed wrote:

> I asked in this group awhile ago whether there were any Linux
> distros that handled everything in the so called "standard way"
> for building from source.  When it comes to installation locations,
> config file locations, etc., all ready to be used with the Make
> from the software source, there were none.  The so called standard
> is a myth.  Each distro has their own standard, loosely coupled
> around a few key varieties that many are based on.

I don't disagree with your statement about the lack of a real standard.
I also don't consider that a big problem most of the time.  However, your
statement above suggests a misunderstanding of how source packages are
built.  First of all, they don't come with a Makefile.  They come with a
Makefile.in and a configure script.  The configure script builds the
Makefile after checking the build environment for the presence and
location of various needed components (supporting programs, libraries,
headers, etc.), and allows you to specify install locations (or accept
defaults).  It's a wonderful system that allows the administrator (or even
user) to configure the package to suit their needs.  It's part of what
allows cross-compilation, test environments, etc.  You want package foo
version 1.0 to be "production" while you test foov2?  No problem.

So the point is, ALL distros are capable of configuring, compiling, and
running packages from source tarballs.  I really don't see what the
problem is.  Either your distro supplies the package as a binary and you
can upgrade to the latest version, or they don't and you can install from
source and configure it any way you want.  Or you get the pre-configured
source as supplied by your distro.

Bill Davidson

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