I'm trying to build and install the PDF viewer Atril from source in the directory $HOME/.local on a computer running Debian 10. I have issued the commands

cd "$HOME/.local/src"
apt source atril
cd atril-1.20.3
./configure --prefix="$HOME/.local"
make install

The last command fails with the error message

libtool: install: /usr/bin/install -c .libs/libatril-properties-page.soT /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/caja/extensions-2.0/libatril-properties-page.so
/usr/bin/install: cannot remove '/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/caja/extensions-2.0/libatril-properties-page.so': Permission denied

because libtool tries to install a library under /usr/lib. Is there an option I have missed here to make libtool honour the prefix $HOME/.local?

  • ./configure requires a full path: ./configure --prefix=/home/name/.local Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 17:37
  • @KnudLarsen The environment variable $HOME expands to a full (absolute) path. Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 17:43
  • What if you execute make clean && make && make install?
    – GAD3R
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 18:50
  • 1
    @GAD3R I have tried make clean as well. I get the same error. Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 18:59
  • 1
    It appears that configure.in is hard-wired to use pkg-config --variable=extensiondir libcaja-extension to determine the destination for caja extensions Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


atril needs a place where to put the extensions for the caja file manager.

You can change the path in the makefile:

cajaextensiondir =

Or you can disable caja-extensions if you are not using them:

./configure --prefix="$HOME/.local" --disable-caja

Note that it will build and install, but in order to run, it also needs to find some mate stuff (that you might have already available).

  • I tried replacing /usr with /home/august/.local in the path defined by cajaextensiondir in Makefile but it made no difference. I get the same error message. Obviously it's ignored by the install command. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 8:38
  • With the option --disable-caja I can successfully install Atril. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 8:49
  • If I'm not mistaken the conclusion is that there is a flaw in the Atril build script since it should be possible to install any package locally in the home directory (without root privileges). It would be nice if there was an automated test which prevents packages to enter the debian repository unless this requirement is met. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 8:53
  • The reason I want to build Atril from source is because since a week ago or so it takes 25 seconds to launch Atril (with no document) when it used to open instantly. Now I'm trying to find out what causes the delay. When I open Atril built from source I get the same delay, so I'm good to go even without caja. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 8:58

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