Linoob’s Guide to Install Source Package Tarballs

Hello Folks ..Welcome to Linoob’s Guide to install from Source Package ie Tarballs also commonly seen as tar.gz/bz2 files.Though be strongly recommend using PPA for installation or the DEB package sometimes these aren’t available and we have to rely on Tarballs package.Don’t panic cause installation using Tarballs is as simple but is avoided cause it comes at a cost of few extra steps which we generally tend to avoid. ? Building from source is a reasonably simple process, but it can be complicated sometimes. You can even end up with two versions of an application installed simultaneously which can cause a lot of problems. So, all you need to do is Be Careful !


There are the 3 basic command you’ll like to commit-to-memory because these are the ones that you’ll be running everytime you need to install an application from a source file. If you don’t want to, then just for Deb 🙂 its still working.

First things first ! We need these binaries –

sudo apt-get install checkinstall build-essential

Not to mention, we will need to extract the files before we can actually install them using building tool make

Extracting the Tarballs

$ tar zxf compressed_file.tar.gz
$ tar zxf compressed_file.tgz
$ tar jxf compressed_file.tar.bz2
$ tar jxf compressed_file.tbz2

(replace ‘compressed_file‘ by the actual package file name)

The 3 steps to success are

$ ./configure
$ make
$ make install

and its done. The package will be installed in a few moments.


CheckInstall keeps track of all files installed by a “make install” or equivalent, creates a Debian, Slackware or RPM or package with those files, and adds it to the installed packages database, allowing for easy package removal or distribution. If in the future you try to install a package that contains the same file as the software you are compiling, you will receive errors and the software you compiled may stop working. CheckInstall is not designed to produce packages suitable for distribution. Do not use it to produce packages intended for the Ubuntu archive or PPAs.


First you need basic binaries to get it working –

sudo apt-get install checkinstall build-essential

Instead of sudo make install,  if you use, the package removal/purge is easy and effective.

sudo checkinstall

When called with no arguments, checkinstall will call “make install”. If you need other arguments, they can be supplied : sudo checkinstall make install_packagename .

The installed package can then also easily be removed via Synaptic or via the terminal: sudo dpkg -r packagename.

Hence, the sequence would be somewhat like this –

tar zxf abc.tar.gz

And thats it.

Use CheckInstall with auto-apt

You can use auto-apt when you want to build a simple package from source with checkinstall. You need to have auto-apt installed!

Instead of ./configure. Use:

auto-apt run ./configure

If the dependencies are available, a dialog box opens and ask you to install them. The rest remains the same

sudo checkinstall

Note : To get things to work you need to first install some essential binaries with this command – sudo apt-get install build-essential .

Anything installed using above mechanism will go to /usr/local/bin directory. Also sometime in state of error sudo apt-get clean all command is very helpful.

Njoy !

About Cell aka Abhishek

A Technology Fanatic, Open-source lover, a future Entrepreneur, & an Innovative thinker, is presently working as a R&D Engineer in the Wind Turbine Industry.