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Source Installation Managers / Package Managers

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

GNU Stow is a program for managing the installation of software packages, keeping them separate (/usr/local/stow/emacs vs. /usr/local/stow/perl, for example) while making them appear to be installed in the same place (/usr/local)."


CheckInstall watches the source package's make install step and creates a Slackware, RPM, or Debian package for you.

Excluding /selinux/context


Sometimes checkinstall includes /selinux/context. To exclude, run it like this:

checkinstall --exclude=/selinux,/selinux/context


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 (configure, make, 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.

info/sourceinstallers.txt · Last modified: 2013-11-08 02:12 by adminsam