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Just a note: do not get confused because both what I wrote and what Lucas10 wrote.
To clarify for new ones:
You can either do gunzip file.tar.gz and then tar xvf file.tar and it will work. This is what most readmes will tell you to do. But if you add the "z" flag to tar you do not need to gunzip before: tar xvzf file.tar.gz. If you have a tar.bz2 instead of a tar.gz you just change the z flag to a j flag: tar xvjf file.tar.bz2
I use "tar xvzf" but default is actually "tar -xvzf", it does not matter in this case, but most programs need that extra -
The flags to tar:
x stands for extract
v is verbose
z/j is for gz or bz2
f stands for file (you need this one)
More info about this: man tar
A good practise to keep your structure clean is to make a "source" directory somewhere (in you home maybe?) and then cd into it and do tar /path/to/downloaded/package.tar.gz this will unpack the package in the directory where you are, but use the file from the downloaded directory. Sanitize your structure. ;)
In most cases, it is better to install software using your distribution's repositories and tools (urpmi, yum, apt...). If you still want to install software from source, I wrote a small article on the subject, you might be interested in:
My site > Computing > Linux > Software/installation.
Thank you very much for those kind words
Thing is I want to keep my work all in one place (my site), as I participate in several forums, and help by mail on occasions. I don't want to repeat myself too often, hence those articles I began to write.
LQ rules don't allow for "advertising" so I keep links to a minimum.
In source package we get the full source code for the respective application and we have to install it directly from the source code for which we have certain files in the package itself. Installing from source consists of these steps:
a) copy the package in a desired (any) directory, and extract it
tar -xvzf *.tar.gz
tar -xjf *.tar.bz2
b) this will extract the files in a new directory (within the same path), now u need to compile and install these files, u can also read the README or INSTALL file in the extracted directory.
cd (directory in which extracted)
rpm -i package-name
this will check if the files necessary for installation are available
this will compile the package
will install the executable in /usr/local/bin
Now your software is installed and u can run it
Hope ir helped.
"apt" is a tool for Debian, and is a layer above "dpkg".
"urpmi" is for Mandrake and is a layer above "rpm". It was I think the first tool to bring the "rpm-system" up to the ease-of-use level achieved with "apt" for the "dpkg-system".
"yum" is for Fedora/Redhat, and is also a layer above "rpm".