Today, When I read a paper about compile source and install, it mentioned default install path is /usr/local . Do you know why default install path is /usr/local? Because it should obey the FHS (Filesystem Hierarchy Standard). Here is FHS. FYI.
BTW, this standard is for UNIX-like operating systems, especially Linux. So if you compile and install some source which come from community in Solaris, it still be installed in default path /usr/local. If you want to change the install path, use:
It will generic a makefile by which you can install application or library into install_path.