Prepare to compile software on an AL2 instance - Amazon Linux 2
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Prepare to compile software on an AL2 instance

Open-source software is available on the internet that has not been pre-compiled and made available for download from a package repository. You might eventually discover a software package that you need to compile yourself, from its source code. For your system to be able to compile software in AL2 and Amazon Linux, you need to install several development tools, such as make, gcc, and autoconf.


The Amazon Linux AMI reached its end-of-life on December 31, 2023 and will not receive any security updates or bug fixes starting January 1, 2024. For more information about the Amazon Linux AMI end-of-life and maintenance support, see the blog post Update on Amazon Linux AMI end-of-life. We recommend that you upgrade applications to AL2023, which includes long-term support until 2028.


This information applies to Amazon Linux. For information about other distributions, see their specific documentation.

Because software compilation is not a task that every Amazon EC2 instance requires, these tools are not installed by default, but they are available in a package group called "Development Tools" that is easily added to an instance with the yum groupinstall command.

[ec2-user ~]$ sudo yum groupinstall "Development Tools"

Software source code packages are often available for download (from websites such as and as a compressed archive file, called a tarball. These tarballs will usually have the .tar.gz file extension. You can decompress these archives with the tar command.

[ec2-user ~]$ tar -xzf software.tar.gz

After you have decompressed and unarchived the source code package, you should look for a README or INSTALL file in the source code directory that can provide you with further instructions for compiling and installing the source code.

To retrieve source code for Amazon Linux packages

Amazon Web Services provides the source code for maintained packages. You can download the source code for any installed packages with the yumdownloader --source command.

  • Run the yumdownloader --source package command to download the source code for package. For example, to download the source code for the htop package, enter the following command.

    [ec2-user ~]$ yumdownloader --source htop Loaded plugins: priorities, update-motd, upgrade-helper Enabling amzn-updates-source repository Enabling amzn-main-source repository amzn-main-source | 1.9 kB 00:00:00 amzn-updates-source | 1.9 kB 00:00:00 (1/2): amzn-updates-source/latest/primary_db | 52 kB 00:00:00 (2/2): amzn-main-source/latest/primary_db | 734 kB 00:00:00 htop-1.0.1-2.3.amzn1.src.rpm

    The location of the source RPM is in the directory from which you ran the command.