Installing TightVNC: ./configure command not working

Q I have my usual problem in trying to install a VNC program to my laptop running Xubuntu. I downloaded all the VNC programs on to a recent disc and copied them to my laptop. I then used the correct tar instruction to unpack the archive both of TightVNC and VNC, ran cd into the resulting directory, typed ./configure... and was told the instruction did not exist. I'm afraid this is the usual state when I try to load your programs either on Ubuntu or SUSE. Am I doing something wrong?

A In my ever so humble opinion, it is the distro makers that are doing something wrong. They assume that you will find every program you need in their repositories and that only developers will need compiler tools. In reality, most Linux users will need a compiler at some time, even if it is only to install a driver for their network card or the latest Nvidia graphics card drivers. Even installing VMware, a closed source binary package, requires a compiler for the kernel modules. Many of these require the kernel source too, another package considered non-essential.

That's enough ranting: on Ubuntu, you need to install the build-essential package, which includes everything you need to compile from source. With SUSE, you need the gcc package. If you want to install software from source tarballs, which will happen sooner or later, these packages will be essential, so install them now and avoid any grief later. However, in this case compiling from source is not necessary. Both distros include recent versions of TightVNC in their standard repositories or on the install discs, with Ubuntu also including the standard VNC. Unless you need the latest, most bleeding-edge versions, it makes sense to use the packages that came with your distro, as they have been tested, and you will be informed of any updates.

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