Dev Packages

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Linux and the package management systems

You have to know that in linux usually you don't come around to sites and download installers/packages, unless you don't want the latest-bleeding-edge version. So if you want a piece of software, you ususally rely on the package management system of your distro.

A package management system is a structure with which your system installs and keeps track of installed software.

On debian-based linux distributions (distros), the main package tool is apt.

apt-get is the client application interfacing to the package server (or repository) on which all the packages are stored.

To install a package from repository, you digit apt-get in the terminal, followed by a command and the names of the packages you wish to install.

apt-get is run from the command line, but there are also graphical tools (like synaptic)

Installing development packages

A development package is a library (of source code) needed to succesfully compile into binary form (executable) other packages.

Development packages are usually distinguishable for a -dev or -devel suffix in their name.

For instance, in Ubuntu, dev packages for tcl 8.5 and tk 8.5 (needed to compile aMSN from SVN) are called tcl8.4dev and tk8.4dev.

The command build-dep of apt-get downloads and installs all the build dependencies of the given packages, i.e. all the libraries needed to succesfully ./configure

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