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16.1 Basic Installation

Briefly, the shell commands ‘./configure; make; make install’ should configure, build, and install this package. The following more-detailed instructions are generic; see the ‘README’ file for instructions specific to this package. More recommendations for GNU packages can be found in Makefile Conventions in GNU Coding Standards.

The configure shell script attempts to guess correct values for various system-dependent variables used during compilation. It uses those values to create a ‘Makefile’ in each directory of the package. It may also create one or more ‘.h’ files containing system-dependent definitions. Finally, it creates a shell script ‘config.status’ that you can run in the future to recreate the current configuration, and a file ‘config.log’ containing compiler output (useful mainly for debugging configure).

It can also use an optional file (typically called ‘config.cache’ and enabled with ‘--cache-file=config.cache’ or simply ‘-C’) that saves the results of its tests to speed up reconfiguring. Caching is disabled by default to prevent problems with accidental use of stale cache files.

If you need to do unusual things to compile the package, please try to figure out how configure could check whether to do them, and mail diffs or instructions to the address given in the ‘README’ so they can be considered for the next release. If you are using the cache, and at some point ‘config.cache’ contains results you don’t want to keep, you may remove or edit it.

The file ‘’ (or ‘’) is used to create ‘configure’ by a program called autoconf. You need ‘’ if you want to change it or regenerate ‘configure’ using a newer version of autoconf.

The simplest way to compile this package is:

  1. cd to the directory containing the package’s source code and type ‘./configure’ to configure the package for your system.

    Running configure might take a while. While running, it prints some messages telling which features it is checking for.

  2. Type ‘make’ to compile the package.
  3. Optionally, type ‘make check’ to run any self-tests that come with the package, generally using the just-built uninstalled binaries.
  4. Type ‘make install’ to install the programs and any data files and documentation. When installing into a prefix owned by root, it is recommended that the package be configured and built as a regular user, and only the ‘make install’ phase executed with root privileges.
  5. Optionally, type ‘make installcheck’ to repeat any self-tests, but this time using the binaries in their final installed location. This target does not install anything. Running this target as a regular user, particularly if the prior ‘make install’ required root privileges, verifies that the installation completed correctly.
  6. You can remove the program binaries and object files from the source code directory by typing ‘make clean’. To also remove the files that configure created (so you can compile the package for a different kind of computer), type ‘make distclean’. There is also a ‘make maintainer-clean’ target, but that is intended mainly for the package’s developers. If you use it, you may have to get all sorts of other programs in order to regenerate files that came with the distribution.
  7. Often, you can also type ‘make uninstall’ to remove the installed files again. In practice, not all packages have tested that uninstallation works correctly, even though it is required by the GNU Coding Standards.
  8. Some packages, particularly those that use Automake, provide ‘make distcheck’, which can by used by developers to test that all other targets like ‘make install’ and ‘make uninstall’ work correctly. This target is generally not run by end users.

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