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How to “make uninstall”

Now that I started compiling some serious stuff, and running the matching make install, the time has eventually come to start cleaning this mess. Unlike proper packages, things installed via make install can’t be removed simply via the package manager. So here are (very briefly!) some solutions:

make uninstall: if you’re lucky, the software maintainer included such a routine. Should be run from the very same configuration as you used for make install. Since we are talking kernel here, I’ll make it easy for you: this isn’t an option here.

checkinstall: if you use this instead of make install (now is too late, but for the next time you’ll know), this should create a .deb which is then automatically installed, and which you can later remove via the package manager. Works with rpm, too, reportedly. But I haven’t tried it yet, and I’m not really planning to at the moment.

make -n install: this won’t uninstall the stuff, but will show you the steps followed by make install (so you can then manually reverse them). That was quite useful for the kernel, since as I suspected it doesn’t do much (so I was quickly able to confirm what it does).

Final note: I think I read somewhere that make install is, generally, much NOT recommended, because it will be hard to uninstall later, and if you do another make install over it to upgrade I believe there are good chances that you’ll overwrite configuration files and such. Plus dependencies might be a PITA, too. As far as my usage goes, I either just use make and then move files around manually (for install for R-project), or make install for the kernel, because in this case uninstallation is trivial: just go to /boot and remove all files containing the kernel version you don’t need anymore. Like, I just installed 3.9.4, and to remove 3.9.2 I did:
cd /boot
rm *3.9.2*

Posted in Linux, servers.

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