I installed a software from the sources that I download and compiled myself. So I did the following:

tar xzfv ~/download/software.tar.gz
cd ~/download/software && ./configure && make
sudo make install

Question: can I now remove the ~/download/software folder that I no longer need?
(In other words: where does the software have been installed? Cleverly in the /bin, /opt etc. folders? Or does the files have been installed in ~/download/software?)


2 Answers 2


When you have run:

sudo make install

the necessary files are copied in relevant places in the system directories. It may put things in /usr/local, may be in /opt, may be got distributed throughout other relevant directories in the system. I have come across no package that keeps and runs from that directory. There should be a README (or similar) file that should give a clear view of what will be done.

So you can remove the source directory safely, but there could be a uninstall file that does exact opposite of install i.e. it will remove all files copied so check if you have that. If present, better keep that.

As we are at it, you should use checkinstall instead of make install as checkinstall makes a .deb file out of the relevant files to be copied and you can manage it afterwards just by using any package manager e.g. apt-get, aptitude or from lower level by using dpkg. You can install checkinstall by:

sudo apt-get install checkinstall

Then check man checkinstall.

  • 1
    If space is at a premium, a make clean - not make distclean ! - could do away with redundant copies of installation files while keeping source and configuration. Sep 5, 2016 at 16:24

Well that would depend on the package normally I would say you were okay to delete it.

It depends on where the software installed the required files.

In my experience its always been fine. Post more package information for more info!

If you want to test what will happen, stop the running program, deamon etc, then move the installation folder and restart the program! No change in expected behavior? Your safe to remove it! If not kill the program, move the folder back and restart!

  • My question is for a general purpose: my ~/download/ folder is full of installation folders... And I didn't knew if the core these software were actually in these folders (so I must not delete them), of if there were a bit like .deb or .exe files, that are no longer needed once the software installed.
    – ebosi
    Sep 5, 2016 at 8:07
  • 1
    See my edit, im sure if you just remove them then you will be fine, but if they are critical then be safe and move them first & then delete if they cause no issue
    – Dan
    Sep 5, 2016 at 8:23

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