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put-this-in-your-zshenv-or-bashrc.sh
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for i in $HOME/local/*; do
[ -d $i/bin ] && PATH="${i}/bin:${PATH}"
[ -d $i/sbin ] && PATH="${i}/sbin:${PATH}"
[ -d $i/include ] && CPATH="${i}/include:${CPATH}"
[ -d $i/lib ] && LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${i}/lib:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}"
[ -d $i/lib ] && LD_RUN_PATH="${i}/lib:${LD_RUN_PATH}"
# uncomment the following if you use macintosh
# [ -d $i/lib ] && DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH="${i}/lib:${DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH}"
[ -d $i/lib/pkgconfig ] && PKG_CONFIG_PATH="${i}/lib/pkgconfig:${PKG_CONFIG_PATH}"
[ -d $i/share/man ] && MANPATH="${i}/share/man:${MANPATH}"
done
 
 
# This allows you to install programs into $HOME/local/someprogram
# for example, when I install node locally I install it like this:
#
# ./configure --prefix=$HOME/local/node-v0.8.4
# make
# make install
#
# To uninstall a program, just rm -rf $HOME/local/someprogram
#

finally my PATHs become very long...

At least on a Mac where there is no /usr/local by default I just sudo mkdir /usr/local; sudo chown -R $USER /usr/local

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