installing tar.gz files

Luís Silva lacsilva at
Thu Apr 3 12:11:14 UTC 2008

I don't know any graphical tool that lets you do what you want. On the other 
hand, what you want to do is pretty standard.

A tar.gz is a set of files that was first archived with tar and then 
compressed with gzip. You will also often find tar.bz2. The difference being 
the compression utility used, in this case bzip2. tar itself can handle them 

Here is how it goes:
1- Create a folder named BUILD in your /home/YourUserName (This is just to 
keep your home tidy!)
2- move/copy the tar.gz into this folder
3- I suppose you have already used the command line before. If you did the 
above in the command line just cd to the BUILD folder. If not, open a 
terminal, type "cd" (without the ") (this is to make sure you are in your 
home folder), type "cd BUILD".
4- Now you are in the BUILD folder, you are going to unzip and untar the file:
   tar vxzf yourfile.tar.gz
The "v" is for verbose, the "x" is for extract, "z" is because you have a 
gziped file (you should use "j" instead if you had a tar.bz2), and the "f" is 
to say that the next word is going to be your file name.
5- now you should have a new folder there. Check it with "ls -hl"
6- "cd" to the new folder.
7- Each program in source code comes with one or several scripts that perform 
the actual compilation and installation for you. Typically you have 
a "configure" script there. Again, check it with "ls -hl". Run it 
with "./configure" 
8- If you get any errors just post them here so we can help you going through 
them. If don't just type "make". This should compile your program.
9- If everything went as expected, and you want to install the program in your 
system type "sudo make install" and enter your password when asked for it.
10- That's it. There are surely a lot of things I omitted. If you want to know 
more about each command you used (and you should be learning about these) 
type 'man command' on the command line (replacing command by what you want to 
know about.

A nice thing about kde (I assume you are using kde) is that you have man, info 
and help available in konqueror. So typing man:command, info:command or 
help:command in the location bar gives you help on the desired command. For a 
newbie I would recommend its EXTENSIVE use.

Ok! Have fun and keep trying. Don't stop just because something didn't work 
the first time.
Luís A. C. Silva
lacsilva at
 Version: 3.1
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W++(++)>++ !N !o K--? !w---(---)?>--- O-(-) !M-(-)>- !V PS++(+) PE Y+ PGP- 
t+>$ 5++ X++ !R? tv b++ DI+++(++)>+ !D G+ e+++? h?>$ !r?* !y** 

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