apt-get install python-gdal installs version 1.6.0 and this is already installed. I would like to install the 1.9.0 version.
Do I have to de-install 1.6.0 first and then compile manually or is there an
apt-get package that I have missed?
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You can get 1.9 from Ubuntugis (see https://launchpad.net/~ubuntugis/+archive/ubuntugis-unstable).
See http://trac.osgeo.org/gdal/wiki/DownloadingGdalBinaries for other sources of binaries.
Failing all else you can build 1.9 from the sources (http://trac.osgeo.org/gdal/wiki/BuildHints)
Note: this is an answer for an older version of GDAL, and there are newer versions available (including current) that can be compiled similar to this answer. Just replace the version numbers in the commands below.
Build from source, with Python bindings:
sudo apt-get install build-essential python-all-dev wget http://download.osgeo.org/gdal/gdal-1.9.0.tar.gz tar xvfz gdal-1.9.0.tar.gz cd gdal-1.9.0 ./configure --with-python make sudo make install
In addition, some Linux distributions require the shared library cache to be updated after install:
You can get 1.9 from Ubuntugis (see https://launchpad.net/~ubuntugis/+archive/ubuntugis-unstable) as you're running Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid. 1.9 was built for Lucid for the OSGEO Live DVD and should be available for other Ubuntu versions soon (ish). Source: some email traffic on the UbuntuGIS mailing list.