I have always had a problem installing and removing compiled software, so I have decided I would like to build software from source into a .deb package for easier installation/removal.

I would like to know of an easy and short way to build source into a .deb package, as an end user.

I have tried:

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    Ubucompilator is an interesting project, and I applaud their efforts to date. However, as you discovered, it only provides a GUI front-end to four or five low-level commands. And, NO, you can not use it to easily create a proper '.deb' package. – david6 May 23 '12 at 7:11

checkinstall does what you want to achieve: it will monitor which files get installed and put them into a .deb package, which can then be installed and removed

Install it with

apt-get install checkinstall

then you do the normal install from source procedure, replacing 'sudo make install' with 'sudo checkinstall':

  sudo checkinstall

Reference: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CheckInstall

  • wow what a stupid piece of software, it actually does install stuff to your system... – Mehdi Mar 19 at 11:49

We have a really good Packaging Guide that has a section on the topic of new packages.

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    I recommend this link, as it contains all the information someone would need. Also, if there's any specific questions, I may be able to help with them, but not for explaining the entire procedure of creating a debian package from source. – Thomas Ward May 29 '12 at 16:35
  • @ppumkin: updated. – tumbleweed Feb 20 '15 at 7:46

I have used the make checkinstall command on several occasions to create a .deb package on one machine to be installed on my other servers. It is a fast way to install a Beta version. It works, but should be used with caution. There are pitfalls for the user who does not understand the many functions of the .deb package.

I have twenty-some servers that use the same home grown apps. Adding the build support and compiler to each host is not that difficult.

Entering the commands to download and compile a new version twenty times is time consuming. The alternative is to upload a script to do the task and then execute the script. But it is often easier to update applications using the .deb file created with checkinstall.


The task of packaging some random piece of software code into a .deb is a fairly complicated one if the software didn't come in that form already, especially compared to just make, make install. If you want things to be simpler, I think you're moving in the wrong direction.

I'm not saying you can't do it - Debian developers do it a lot. But it doesn't seem like the simplest way to do what you want.

Maybe you should concentrate more on learning how compiling and installing software from source "works". In your favour is the fact that everything you've installed yourself should end up in /usr/local

  • thanks for the sugestion , but i already know about compiling softwares, i hav quiet a number of them compiled on my system. Te only thing i find tough is upgrading or removing them. So i though a deb file would be more handy – Ashu May 23 '12 at 4:31
  • The reason a deb package can smoothly upgrade or remove itself is that someone has painstakingly written scripts that do this, for each package. In addition they've had to add a whole lot of other descriptive metadata which dpkg can use to determine what files are. You'll have your work cut out for you. – thomasrutter May 23 '12 at 4:33
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    Actually, just go with Floyd's answer. It looks like a way better solution overall, if it really does what it says it does! – thomasrutter May 30 '12 at 3:47
  • Yup. Floyd's solution is great. Especially now, its extremely mature. Now I don't have to build from source on tons of servers. :) – Jack_Hu Oct 17 '19 at 10:27

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