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Get the last source
http://download.osgeo.org/qgis/src/ (this how to is made on a 1.4.0 qgis version)
- sudo aptitude install gdal-bin libgdal1-dev libgeos-dev proj libgdal-doc libhdf4g-dev libhdf4g-run python-dev libgsl0-dev g++ libjasper-dev libtiff4-dev subversion libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 ccache make libpq-dev flex bison cmake txt2tags python-qt4 python-qt4-dev python-sip4 sip4 python-sip4-dev libqt4-core libqt4-debug libqt4-dev libqt4-gui libqt4-qt3support libqt4-sql lsb-qt4 qt4-designer qt4-dev-tools qt4-doc qt4-qtconfig uim-qt gcc libapt-pkg-perl resolvconf
Installation (easy way) or you can have a look on the INSTALL file
cd qgis mkdir build cd build ccmake ..
When you run ccmake (note the .. is required!), a menu will appear where you can configure various aspects of the build.
Now press 'c' to configure, 'e' to dismiss any error messages that may appear.
After validating many times by 'c' you can generate the make files press 'g'.
Note that sometimes 'c' needs to be pressed several times before the 'g' option becomes available.
After the 'g' generation is complete, press 'q' to exit the ccmake interactive dialog.
Now on with the build:
make sudo make install
You have finish and can launch qgis directly from a terminal or create a quick link in your panel.