Each Linux distribution that bases its software on RPM files will compile the software distribution for you as well as release source RPM packages. A source RPM package is an RPM containing the source code for the software as well as instructions on how to prepare and compile the software. The RPM will also contain the spec file.
SUSE uses the auto-build system to automate the process of compiling the same source RPM files to create binary RPMs tor all the supported architectures (x86, x86_64, ia64, ppc, and zSeries). This provides SUSE with an advantage over the other distributions in that all architectures are based on exactly the same source base. This means that you can use Linux on a desktop for development work and there is a 99 percent chance that you can recompile and run on a mainframe because all the libraries are the same, from the same code base.
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