How To Compile and Install Software from Source on Ubuntu


Modern Linux distributions comes with repositories that will install any software that you required. If there are any package missing, you can also add them in repositories manually and install software. Distributions like Debian based also comes with Software center so you even don't have to open Terminal.

Still, there are times when you have to build the source-code and install in your system. This is useful when you want to install latest version of any application which is not yet published in repositories or software application. Also when you want to make changes or add any custom plugin or make changes in the application, then you have to build from source-code and install.

To build the source-code and install package, you don't need any programming skill. If you know about command-line, then you can also build application from the source-code and install in your system.

There are many methods to build source-code. Different package maintainers make different method to build source code. Let's check some methods to build source code and install package.

Install required dependencies

To build the source code, first you need to have some dependencies like gcc compiler installed. To install these dependencies, run the bellow command.

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Download source code from website

In order to get source-code, first get the source-code from the either official website or platform like Github. For example, if we are installing VLC media player, then download code from Official Website.

extract the package

tar -xf vlc-3.0.8.tar.xz

Go to project directory

cd vlc-3.0.8

Now configure with bellow command.


If you encounter any error, then check README or INSTALL file for dependencies required to install software. Then run the command to build VLC

sudo make

Now install the VLC and its plugins by running command.

sudo make install

Install software from .deb file

Many softwares are providing pakage .deb file. You can also install .deb file package. You can simple install the software with single command.

For example we want to install 4K Video Downloader software. It is available to Download from Official Website.

You can also download direct from Terminal if you have wget software installed. It will download the installer file in current directory.


Now install software with just one bellow command.

sudo dpkg -i 4kvideodownloader_4.12.1-1_amd64.deb

This way you can install software from the souce code. Installing software from source code is somewhat not easy task but it rovides flexibility to modify the code or 3rd party plugin. Thus it is good idea to install software from the repositories if you don't need or want to learn deep on software.

I hope it will help you.