Install program in a Linux via terminal: The simple case scenario

Sometimes it may happen that you will actually need to install something manually: there might not be a recent enough version from the program which you need or the program may be absent all together. Solution for the previous hardship is installing the program from source code via terminal.

When you begin you will of course need to obtain source code usually from online. You will most likely end up having an archive on your hands (for example tar.gz archive) which you need to extract with a unzipping program like file-roller.

After unzipping is done then begins the fun part. You will first need to access the new folder which you just extracted from the archive you had obtained earlier. So if I would be having the new folder inside my home directory the following steps would be taken inside terminal client (lxterminal, aterm, gnome-terminal..)

At this point you should be a normal user:

cd directory      –> enter a folder called directory

./configure     –> configure the build environment and see if you are missing some development packages (.dev files) which need to be installed in order to complete the build environment configuration.

You may also consider configuring with the prefix feature so that the program gets placed in an alternative location which is potentially safer considering accidental deletions. You can modify the prefix variable to meet your needs.

./configure – -prefix=/usr


Note: there should be no space between – –

Note: you can create folder in terminal with a command mkdir foldername AND you can remove a folder with rm -rf foldername

However be careful with the above removal command as it may cause some unwanted damage


make      –> starts literally making the package (building it into a one piece)

Installing the package: Become a root user/ super user.

sudo su     –> Ubuntu, LMDE, Linux Mint….


su root     –> Fedora, Mageia, Debian…

After becoming a root user do:

make install

If all went well program should be installed in to your system. Do not remove the original build folder because without it the removal process of the program can be a tricky thing to achieve.

In the most common case the removal of the program is done as a root user by executing the following command:

make uninstall

Do remember that these are only the basics and a way trickier concepts do come around sometimes. However they are the topics of some future blog entries.