Sometimes an application you want to install is not exists in the package manager or the package is too old so you have to compile it by yourself. You know the mess it makes, you need to remmember what you compiled and not overwrite the installation when you decide to install from a package.
It’s good to create a package from your compiled binaries, you can also reuse the package in other machines.
Here come ‘checkinstall’, you can use checkinstall to generate Debian packages (Slackware too),
Get it from:http://www.asic-linux.com.mx/~izto/checkinstall/download.php (Debian i386 package).
Lenny has the package in APT, but Etch doesn’t.
Ubuntu also got it in APT.
After you finish compiling, just run ‘checkinstall’ command from the source directory.