Been trying lots of examples but nothing seems to be working. I don't wanna use yum/apt-get I want to do everything from source so I get a better understanding. Yum/apt-get just cheats the system and you have to wait for versions and you have no configuration controls.
This is utter nonsense. Tools like these are the only sensible option to manage software installations. After they did their work (with useful default configurations), you can configure the installed software exactly like you need it.
To learn how the system really works, have a look at Linux from Scratch.