installing tar.gz files

D. Michael McIntyre michael.mcintyre at
Sun Apr 6 17:03:49 UTC 2008

On Sunday 06 April 2008, Asuka Langley wrote:
> But beware. Source can easily demolish your stable system!

Let me underscore that several times.  When I see "newbie" and "source" in the 
same post, I get worried.  It's really important for people new to Linux to 
get used to the idea of package management first.  Grabbing the source is 
very rarely the way to go for most people under most circumstances.

Windows teaches people to look for software "out there" somewhere, so they go 
looking for software out on the web, instead of turning to the package 
manager first.  Most projects have web pages where they publish release 
tarballs, and I've even seen these things available at places like Tucows.  
Those tarballs are mostly intended for distro package managers, and not 
ordinary end users, under most circumstances.

There are exceptions, but they're rare, and newbies should definitely try to 
get used to the rule before they start screwing around with the exceptions.  
Ignore this advice at your peril.

Lots of people discover that the hard way.  I know I did.  :)

Hence the really important question in all of this is the one "p.daniels" 
asked early on in the thread. "What are you trying to install?"

Odds are, you don't need to fool with a tarball at all, and you're playing 
with matches without even realizing it.
D. Michael McIntyre 

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