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I would like to understand better what happens during the process of compiling(?) PHP...

  • What do these 4 steps do?
  • Do they have good (meaningful) names, e.g. I think make install is what actually should be called configure.
  • What are the physical outputs of each step?
  • Does every step create files which are stored somewhere or is the result of say 'make' only stored in the memory?
  • How long after 'make' can I still 'make install'?
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

configure deals with differences between the libs and tools installed on the target system - see this page for an overview - and generates a Makefile (usually a Makefile in each sub dir too).

A Makefile is a script usually defining several types of operation - you select the operation by specifying it as an argument to 'make'.

'make clean' (by convention) should removed all the compiled libs and programs from the current dir and sub dirs. This should be redundant where you've just unpacked an installation - but its good practice to make sure the packager didn't leave any stray object files around.

'make' will compile the libs / programs

'make install' usually just copies the relevant files from the working directory tree to their final locations on the target system.

You can postpone 'make install' almost indefinitely - but if your code depends on linking to libs already on your system then the resulting code may break if these are updated in the meantime.

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nice answer, thanks! – markus Nov 17 '10 at 16:03

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