Finding Unix Software

Before you can install software on your Unix system, you have to find the software and locate the correct version of the software. We recommend the following places to look:

  • Search the Web using Yahoo ( or Google ( find downloadable software.

  • Visit specific software sites, such as HotScripts at (Figure 14.1) or SourceForge at or FreshMeat at

    Figure 14.1. You'll find all the software you could ever want on many software archives on the Web, such as HotScripts.

In using these resources, you'll come upon the following:

  • Code for Perl, shell, or other scripts: You'll generally have to download, uncompress, and unarchive these, and then edit some of the files to insert system-specific settings.

  • Source code for programs: With these, you'll have to download, uncompress, and unarchive, and then set some system-specific settings. Then, you'll have to "make" them, which tells the make program on your system to compile and install the programs.

  • Precompiled binaries: You'll have to scout through the names available and find the name (and operating system and platform) that corresponds to the system on which you want to run the software to run. Then, you'll have to download it, uncompress it, and put it where you want it. This is the easiest solutionwhen it works; however, keep in mind that you might download it, uncompress it, and find that it still won't work, leaving you with no choice but to download and compile the source code.


  • If you'll be downloading and installing a lot of software, and if you have no significant quota limitations, look into using or even downloading and installing rpm. It's a neat compression/installation/configuration program that makes installing Unix software in this special format as easy as installing a program in Windows or on a Macintosh. It's standard on RedHat, SuSE, and Mandrake Linux but has been used on many different Unix systems. The apt package system, used by Debian Linux, is similar in intent and is also extremely popular.

  • Unless you're root on your system, your options for installing software will be rather limited. Consider using a home Linux system to experiment with if you want to be able to install whatever and whenever you want.

Unix(c) Visual Quickstart Guide
UNIX, Third Edition
ISBN: 0321442458
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 251

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