I've written a small toy application using SDL2. I want to distribute it the most user-friendly way, for Linux.

  • I should make a deb package, but then I should also make packages for other distros, which I'm not familiar. (I am also not familiar with packaging deb. Yet.)
  • I should compile it to static, and distribute the single ELF, but there is no static version of SDL2 available, so I have to compile all the dependencies myself, which is lot of pain.
  • Quick-and-dirty: release the ELF, it will run distros with SDL2 installed.

Short: what's the Linux equivalent of setup.exe?

  • 1
    I highly recommend you look into deb, rpm, Linux package repositories, and Linux packaging in general first. The Linux ecosystem is very different from Windows, although the lines are blurring a little bit as of Windows 10. I think there is some foundational knowledge you need to research on your own before asking this question.
    – user22815
    Jun 8, 2015 at 13:32
  • I'm using only Linux for years, but I've just realized now, that I never shipped such type of software before. What's I'm afraid of that after 3-4 distro upgrade (2 years) my app will not launch due to an obsolete lib. I can install from source, but "my mom" couldn't.
    – ern0
    Jun 8, 2015 at 13:54
  • As far as I know you are not restricted to dynamic linking in your software package. I have not packaged anything in years but it is more a wrapper for executing install scripts than anything. The contents of your binary are pretty much not important to the package manager.
    – user22815
    Jun 8, 2015 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


You might want to take a look at the following projects:

The first two projects are installers that have been used to package many games. MojoSetup's page has a list of games packaged with it, for example.

The AppImageKit's documentation has guidelines on building your binaries in such a way that they are usable on as many different distributions and as many different versions of the same distribution as possible: https://github.com/probonopd/AppImageKit/wiki/Creating-AppImages

While packaging an application to be portable, you will probably be interested in finding out about the "rpath" concept: https://www.technovelty.org/linux/exploring-origin.html

You cannot just statically link everything as it is not recommended to link statically against GNU Libc -- cannot find a relevant link at the moment.

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