I have been playing around with compiling some binaries. It all started because I wanted ffmpeg instead of avconv, now I just can't stop compiling stuff. I must find another hobby !!

Anyway, I configure the build process to install to ~/bin, and I add ~/bin to my path.

My question is :

If I simply delete my binaries from ~/bin, is that the program 'uninstalled' or do you think there might be other stuff installed in other locations too ? Maybe shared stuff ?

(I know I can go and look but wanted to ask).


That depends on the programs you installed and if you used them. Some programs only install some binaries in suitable directories. Other packages also install man or info files, ressource files etc.

Furthermore as soon as you run programs they may create config files in your home directory or create dconf entries.

Again, it highly depends on the source packages you compiled and installed.

  • Neveer thought of all that ! Thanks. To be honest I am only playing with compiling binaries myself as a learning exercise .. and I actually did want ffmpeg because avconv didnt handle subtitles for a particular job. So, let me re-phrase my question slightly..... Can I make a deb of my own compiled binaries and install with dpkg or apt-get (in order to use purge or remove to uninstall) ?
    – hatterman
    Mar 29 '16 at 19:11
  • Use checkinstall, see my answer below :)
    – andrew.46
    Mar 29 '16 at 19:14
  • I should have looked at the link given my Muru before commenting! It looks like 'checkinstall' will do the trick.
    – hatterman
    Mar 29 '16 at 19:15
  • ...But this will work only if the developer of the package has taken care of making a good uninstall rule...
    – cmks
    Mar 29 '16 at 19:22
  • Hmmm, the plot thickens. It is quite obvious now why one should use the software in the Ubuntu repos whenever possible. With ffmepg, off course, I don't actually have to install it, I can just run the final binary. Is that the case with most software compiled from source ? Does it always have to be 'installed' or can it simply be run ?
    – hatterman
    Mar 29 '16 at 19:28

Rather than weeding out your compiled applications manually consider using the application checkinstall in the first place. When compiling using checkinstall you would use something like the following:

sudo checkinstall

This will then give you the option of cleanyly uninstalling your compiled software using the Software Center, Synaptic or dpkg and enabling full integration of your compiled applications with the Ubuntu packaging system.


  • 1
    checkinstall and its base installwatch are unmaintained for a long time. Furthermore they only uninstalls what was done by the installscript - any runtime modification arent recognize by this tools.
    – cmks
    Mar 29 '16 at 19:20

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