Why you should not compile from source code

Compiling an application from source code can present you with certain advantages and solve your certain problems, but it can also create new ones. Here are some of the reasons that you should not compile your application from source code.

  • This effectively bypasses your package management system. It means that you must identify all dependencies manually, which introduces you to dependency hell.
  • You are responsible for identifying and preventing any possible conflicts between existing applications. This is necessary to prevent any existing and/or currently installed application from breaking down.
  • You are responsible for monitoring and installing bug fixes, security updates and minor/major updates. This is necessary for the security and functioning of an Operating System.
  • This can allow you to enable non-standard or experimental features. Enabling non-standard features can make your application unstable. While, becoming dependable on an experimental feature can cause trouble when it is changed or removed in future versions of that application.
  • ┬áThis can increase your computing speed with a marked difference only if you are using a CPU intensive application with specialized hardware. Using a generic application on standard desktop/server will give only a slight performance increase on today’s high computing standards.

Compiling an application from source code is useful to understand how that application works. But it should always be considered a measure of last resort. On most modern distros, there are Package Managers to install software, and these should always be used first whenever possible.