These are the steps necessary to use GRAMPS from source.
Local versus Global install
GRAMPS can be installed so it is available for all users, this is called a global install. However, you can also download GRAMPS to your home directory, and run it from there, which is a local install.
There might be many reasons you want to run GRAMPS from source. You might have heard about a new feature you want to try that hasn't been released yet. You might be interested in adding a new feature. You might be interested in getting under the hood to take a look around. Whatever reason you are here, these are the steps necessary to run GRAMPS from source.
My advice is that you start with a good installation of a stable GRAMPS release, so you do a global install of whatever GRAMPS version your distribution packages, see Installation. The reason this is useful is that you can let your distribution worry about having all the dependencies properly installed, and it also set's up all the mime types, which must be done globally or GRAMPS will not be able to use them.
Get the source
Read Brief introduction to SVN, and obtain the source code of the stable branch. At the moment, this is gramps2 and is downloaded to a directory gramps2
Change to the "gramps2" directory:
Execute the autogen script. This needs to be done the first time and any time files are added.
Run make. This needs to be done once for GRAMPS to work.
You can now start GRAMPS locally, by typing on the command line:
cd src python gramps.py
Now you can edit files and run "python gramps.py" without mucking with your official installation of GRAMPS.
Note: You should NOT do make install with the SVN version, as this will install the unstable version globally. If you want a more recent version of GRAMPS globally, download a stable release from sourceforge following the Installation instructions.