I get a stack of errors about not being superuser and permission denied, so many of the folders don't extract.
There are certain funtions that you may want to perform on your system that required 'root' permission.
Depending on which file you want to change or modify you must be 'root' to accomplish the task.
A for example; let's say that you just installed Linux Mint but you need to update your newly installed OS. In order to do that you would have to be operating as 'root' and provide the terminal your password.
Jamesdoe@localhost :~$ su (or) sudo su
put in your password
Jamesdoe@localhost :~# apt-get update
Another example could be your sources.list
You would open a terminal as 'root' by typing in your password and than you would be able to edit that file with your favorite text editor. I use Nano-
:~$ nano /etc/apt/sources.list
That file would open in the terminal and you would be able to modify it--
when you type your root password into the terminal the character/cursor will not move.
If your using Fedora or another Red Hat based distribution you would use 'yum'
Apt is the commandline utility for Ubuntu, Debian and many other distributions.
You didn't mention what distribution you are using so I geralized with the commandline utility--
Hope that helps-