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Let's say that I've found a program that I want to install on my machine. It is only available as a source tarball that can be built with the usual ./configure; make; make install.

While I could do make install in these instances, I'm likely not going to know where xyz file/command come from in a few years, and whether it is important. And who knows what will happen if I try to build a newer version of the program.

What's the most common, manageable way of handling scenarios like this?

marked as duplicate by Gilles, Jakuje, Jeff Schaller, mdpc, cuonglm Mar 17 '16 at 1:23

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    Look at CheckInstall: wiki.debian.org/CheckInstall – jasonwryan Mar 16 '16 at 2:14
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    Another option is to install it under a prefix like /usr/local/<program-name> or /opt/<program-name>. You'll have to modify some environment variables like PATH to get it work though, but the advantage is you know exactly what is installed by the package. – Munir Mar 16 '16 at 2:55
  • Related: This post had asked on "How to manage Debian source code packages using aptitude or apt?", which had an answer for using apt-src. Just one of the ways, but may be not the best. – clearkimura Mar 16 '16 at 4:20
  • also look at dh-make and/or debhelper - tools that make it easy to build a package from unpackaged source code. – cas Mar 16 '16 at 20:56