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compiling from source - where to install

Hello all.  New to Debian, and have a few questions.  When installing
software from source: what is the official/suggested way of doing this in
Debian? Obviously, /usr/local is under my control according to the FHS.  
But is there a suggested way of handling this on a Debian system?  Also,
does it make a difference if there is a dpkg available for said software?
My first thought is to do a "./configure --prefix=/usr/local" but thought
I'd check with you Deb-Gurus first.  :)

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Ian J. Alexander                     email: ija@eaze.net  Office: 817-557-3038
Senior Software Engineer             http://ija.eaze.net  Fax:    817-557-3468
EazeNet - Putting the 'S' in 'ISP'
                         --== There is no spoon. ==--
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