First of all, most likely you do not need to install John the Ripper system-wide. Instead, after you extract the distribution archive and possibly compile the source code (see below), you may simply enter the "run" directory and invoke John from there.
System-wide installation is also supported, but it is intended for use by packagers of John for *BSD "ports", Linux distributions, etc., rather than by end-users. (If you're in fact preparing a package of John, please refer to the JOHN_SYSTEMWIDE setting in src/params.h.)
You may have obtained the source code or a "binary" (pre-compiled) distribution of John the Ripper. On Unix-like systems, it is typical to get the source code and compile it into "binary" executables right on the system you intend to run John on. On DOS and Windows, however, it is typical to get a binary distribution which is ready for use.
The following instructions apply to the source code distribution of John only. If you have a binary distribution, then there's nothing for you to compile and you can start using John right away.
Enter the directory into which you extracted the source code distribution of John. Enter the "src" subdirectory and invoke "make" to obtain a list of operating systems for which specific support exists:
cd src make
Note the make target for your system and type:
make clean SYSTEM
where SYSTEM is the appropriate make target. Alternatively, if your system is not listed, use:
make clean generic
If everything goes well, this will create the executables for John and its related utilities under "../run/". You can change directory to there and start John, like this:
cd ../run ./john --test
Alternatively, you may copy the entire "run" directory to anywhere you like and use John from there.
With the "generic" make target, certain machine hardware performance parameters are detected at compile time. Additionally, some OS-specific make targets tell the C compiler to generate and optimize code for the machine's specific CPU type (this currently applies to C compilers other than gcc only). If you then move the binary executable to a different machine, you might not get the best performance or the program might not run at all if the CPU lacks features that the C compiler assumed it would have. Thus, it is recommended to recompile John on each system if you use one of these make targets.
Since Linux and *BSD distributions' packages of John typically use make targets other than "generic" and since they typically use gcc, they are usually not affected by this potential problem.
$Owl: Owl/packages/john/john/doc/INSTALL,v 1.5 2010/05/27 13:37:48 solar Exp $