Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was using Ubuntu from 9.8 until now 11.10 ,and there are some programs that have this sequence to install :

  1. In the terminal cd to the program's folder and write ./configure
  2. write configure
  3. make
  4. make install

but this never works with me with any version of Ubuntu, so what to do to install these non compiled programs ???

share|improve this question
Your question is too generic, there are many reasons for such instructions to fail, please update your question with the software you are trying to build and the error that you are getting. –  João Pinto Mar 11 '12 at 19:51
have you read my question this way never works for me with any program that have this way of installation like geany and giver applications –  Black Block Mar 12 '12 at 21:16
it works for me with those commands... –  Alvar Mar 12 '12 at 22:26
The instructions are fine, if you get an error and you need help with it you will get better help by providing the specific error you are getting. –  João Pinto Mar 15 '12 at 8:32
I suppose OP has not build tools installed. Anyway i have added a detailed answer. –  Faizan Apr 15 at 1:29

2 Answers 2

There are two possible errors in your approach, taking "write" not literally, but as something to write, and omiting the sudo, which is indeed an error of these instructions:

sudo make install

Btw.: I wouldn't call the program compiled program if it didn't compile.

Note, that compiling is done in the second step. If you experience an error at one of the steps, you needn't try the later ones. Instead, report the detailed error message of the failing command.

Installing an uncompiled program (if it needs compilation) doesn't make sense. Only programs which are scripts, like python programs (*.py) can be installed uncompiled, and if you install from a .deb package, you don't need to compile yourself.

share|improve this answer

Following steps are required for installing a non-compiled program ( building and installing a program directly from source code ).

Step 1: Ubuntu does not come with tools required for compiling a program by default.Thus, you need to install additional packages. Execute following code in the Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T)

sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall cvs subversion git-core mercurial

Step 2: Extract the source file which usually comes in archives like .tar.gz

tar -xzvf package_name.tar.gz

Note: If you downloaded from source such as Git, SVN, or any other source repository then it is likely that the ./configure files have not yet been generated. You may be able to run the command


from within the downloaded files top directory. This command relies on automake and autoconf programs and will automatically build the configuration files and run the ./configure command.

Step 3: Make sure that there is no dependency problem. If there a dependency it will show an error like

 configure: error: Library requirements (gtk-1.4+) not met

But right above that it will list a filename that it cannot find (often a filename ending in ".pc", for instance). What you need to do then is to run

apt-file search missingfilename.pc

which will tell you which Ubuntu package the missing file is in. You can then simply install the package using

sudo apt-get install requiredpackage

Then try running ./configure again, and see if it works. If you get to a bunch of text that finishes with config.status: creating Makefile followed by no obvious error messages, you're ready for the next steps.

Step 4: Now you need to build and install


which does the actual building (compiling) of the program.

When its done, install the program. You probably want to use

sudo checkinstall

which puts the program in the package manager for clean, easy removal later. This replaces the old sudo make install command.

Note: If checkinstall fails you may need to run the command like

sudo checkinstall --fstrans=0

Which should allow the install to complete successfully.

Alternatively, you can use sudo make install instead of sudo checkinstall if you are more inclined towards it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.