Written by James McDonald

July 7, 2008

If you download and install programs from source on Ubuntu / Debian you may have been through the process of running ./configure, then noting what it complains is missing, then apt-get install missing <package name>, then repeat till you have everything you need.

There is a better way:

apt-get build-dep <package_name>

This will get all the dependencies needed to compile your package – providing that package_name is something that would normally install using a simple apt-get install command.

For example:
If you wanted to download and install the latest version of gnucash from tar.gz. You would run:

apt-get build-dep gnucash

Prior to untarring and configuring the source archive, and the build-dep command would pull in the inumerable build dependencies required.

This tip is taken from the gnucash-users mailing list.


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