I would like to know exact backgounf taks that happen when you install an application from source What happens when you run ./configure What happens when you run make What happens when you run make install

I tried googling a bit about it but was unable to find any explanations.

Can anyone help.

closed as too broad by mkc, Anthon, jasonwryan, John WH Smith, cuonglm Feb 27 '15 at 10:28

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  • Are you just interested to know whether I can help, or do you have specific questions? This is not a good question, nor does it belong IMO on this site: open configure and read the script. Read the man page of make and then the contents of the Makefile (generated by configure). Capture the output of running the commands with redirection and look at each line individually. Nothing is hidden, you just have to put in effort (in the order of a few days the first time, if you have never looked at things). – anyone Feb 27 '15 at 7:33

./configure runs a script named "configure" in the current directory. make runs the program "make" in your path, and make install runs it again with the argument "install".

Generally, the "configure" script was generated by a collection of programs known as "autotools". It checks your system and tries to generate a makefile (see below) appropriate for your system. It often succeeds.

This makefile it creates (usually called "Makefile", note the capital "M") is used by the program make (on Linux it's probably GNU's make, but there are other versions) to actually compile the software.

The make install command invokes make again, after the software is built, and tells it to execute the series of commands defined as "install" in the makefile.

These things are all conventional, so there's no guarantee that any random file named "configure" will actually do that, or that the target named "install" in a makefile will actually install software, but that's what most people expect from a file named "configure" in somebody's source directory: that it will generate a makefile to compile the program.

  • To be precise, configure is generated by autoconf, which is one of the collection of programs that comprise autotools. The makefile is generated by automake. – Faheem Mitha Feb 27 '15 at 6:52
  • Well, the Makefile is usually generated by configure, using a template file generated by automake. – Bandrami Feb 27 '15 at 8:09
  • Yes, that is true. – Faheem Mitha Feb 27 '15 at 8:17

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