While trying to compile gnumeric for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, I came upon several programs that allow you to manage software installed from source, using several different methods.
Software of this type seemed like such a wonderful idea, but somehow it was not at all easy to find out about when I didn't know exactly what the programs were called.
2013-08-09: I haven't looked at or used these lately. For CheckInstall (and other situations too), fpm is another solution that I've used recently. I also often make normal RPMs from spec files. See also Red Hat's "Software Collections".
Nix is a package manager that gets binaries when available and builds from source otherwise.
GNU Stow is a program for managing the installation of software packages, keeping them separate (
/usr/local/stow/perl, for example) while making them appear to be installed in the same place (
CheckInstall watches the source package's
make install step and creates a Slackware, RPM, or Debian package for you.
Sometimes checkinstall includes
/selinux/context. To exclude, run it like this:
Toast was what I ended up using for gnumeric, and it did almost exactly what I wanted it to do. I say almost, because I couldn't move it to another path—the programs were installed for the absolute path. Oh, it also didn't track / resolve dependencies, but none of these "source package managers" do that (update: nix does).
It does more of the work for you than the others. For standard autotools packages (
make install), you can type for instance
toast arm sshfs-fuse, and it will download it, configure, compile, and install to its own directory (usually
.toast), which can be in the user's home directory.
Packages an application and all its dependencies.