You have enough to consider when building an open source application for a single type of system, but what if you’re building that application for distribution among a range of different, incompatible machines? There’s no easy answer, but using a little discipline and some custom scripts, you can simplify the process. This article looks at how to create a structure for building and distributing applications, including heavily customized versions, and a simple way of disseminating the applications among a number of machines, manually or automatically, as easily as possible.I always self-build applications on my systems rather than using one of the available binary or RPM distributions. This isn’t because I don’t trust RPMs, but because for many systems I use a customized environment. I might want debugging switched on or a reduced or specific set of extensions, modules, or other options. Sometimes, I even create a completely different directory structure for a specific project.To complicate matters, I work with a wide range of platforms that use open source projects, including Linux™, BSD, OS X, and various commercial UNIX® distributions. For some of these, I only have one machine; for others, I have 10, 20, or even 50 machines of each type. When a new release of a piece of software becomes available, it can be a mammoth task to update each machine by hand. Read the full article.