Modifying, Building and Installing From Source in Ubuntu

Sometimes, you encounter something in Ubuntu that you'd like to change.  Most of the time, you can do this by opening some sort of preferences menu and checking a few boxes.  Other times, you might need to fire up dconf-editor or gconf-editor to manually modify keys in the dconf and gconf configuration databases.  This works well and is relatively simple, but it's up to the developers what settings you can change this way.

On other occasions, you may want to modify the program's source code instead.  This may be because you want to make big changes such as adding or removing major features, or it may just be that a configuration parameter that you want to change has been hardcoded into the source [which is arguably bad design!].

One of the major advantages of open source software is that the source is open, so this is possible!  It's also very straightforward, once you learn how.