Use the Source Luke
I have a friend who built Root on his linux box from source. Root is an object-oriented data analysis framework, which is popular in high energy physics. Terrible name for a program that runs on Unix.
Well, I couldn't let someone else in the office out-geek me. I downloaded and built it from source also. I did an install to /usr/local and I had to add the root library directory to /etc/ld.so.conf in order to get it to run. Now I have to find a use for it.
I then saw that vim 7.0 was released. I dowloaded the binary for Windows and it is nice. I wanted to run the same version on my Ubuntu box, but a package is not yet out. Perhaps it will be out on verision 6.06. I downloaded the source for vim 7.0 and set off to build it. I got the console version up and running very quickly, but I also wanted the gui version. I found the necessary switch for configure, but I did not have the necessary libraries and includes installed. I wanted to have the gnome version of vim and installed all of the gnome libraries, but it still did not work. I had to install the gtk2 libraries also. It is now up and running.
I used to build all sorts of things from source. We used the gnu tools heavily when we first moved to unix in the late 80's. The GNU verision of make was much nicer than the vendor's versions. Emacs and gcc were also things that we needed to build from source.
It seems to have gotten harder to build from source since so much software nows depends on many external libraries. I remember when I first starting using gnucash. The authors recommended not trying to build it yourself. They said it was high up on the software food chain.