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The Linux Command Line

Cover of The Linux Command Line by William E. Shotts Jr. Published by No Starch Press
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Chapter 23. Compiling Programs

In this chapter, we will look at how to build programs by compiling source code. The availability of source code is the essential freedom that makes Linux possible. The entire ecosystem of Linux development relies on free exchange between developers. For many desktop users, compiling is a lost art. It used to be quite common, but today, distribution providers maintain huge repositories of precompiled binaries, ready to download and use. At the time of this writing, the Debian repository (one of the largest of any of the distributions) contains almost 23,000 packages.

So why compile software? There are two reasons:

  • Availability. Despite the number of precompiled programs in distribution repositories, some distributions ...

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