Mac OS X, for example, is smart enough to realize that you’ll want to install your own apps, and makes special accommodations for you to do this without doing any harm to the rest of the system. On OS X, just create a folder in your home directory named
Applications, and OS X will “magically” give it the Applications icon, and treat it the same way it does with the “normal” Applications folder at the root of your hard drive.
In the same way, UNIX and UNIX-like systems make the same provision for you, using a method suggested by the FHS … the
The FHS defines the
/usr/localas the “tertiary hierarchy for local data installed by the system administrator.” Translated into English, this means put apps you build yourself here.
For old unix gurus this is obvious, but I strangely these conventions like /usr/local aren't really documented anywhere. You just kind of learn it as you go.
I'm starting to prefer self-compiled / self-built installations to even Ubuntu apt-get, since you get much better control over what version is being used. And for an admin, control is key.