Installing NoNdpkg Software

Most software that is not in dpkg format comes with detailed instructions on how to configure, build (if necessary), and install it. Some binary distributions (those containing prebuilt executables) require you to unpack the software from the root directory.

The /opt and /usr/local Directories

Some newer application packages include scripts to install themselves automatically into a directory hierarchy under /opt, with files in a /opt subdirectory that is named after the package and executables in /opt/bin or /opt/package/bin.

Other software packages allow you to choose where you unpack them. Because many different people develop software for Linux, there is no consistent method for installing it. As you acquire software, install it on the local system in as consistent and predictable a manner as possible. The standard Linux file structure has a directory hierarchy under /usr/local for binaries (/usr/local/bin), manual pages (/usr/local/man), and so forth. Because many GNU buildtools search the /usr/local hierarchy by default and may find the wrong version of a utility if you install developer tools there, putting these tools in /opt is a good idea.

To prevent confusion later and to avoid overwriting or losing the software when you install standard software upgrades, avoid installing nonstandard software in standard system directories (such as /usr/bin). On a multiuser system, make sure users know where to find the local software and advise them whenever you install, change, or remove local tools.

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