Originally posted by kompact
I don't understand why it is that Linux has to work like this.
Personally I think it's much easier to tell people to type (or even cut and paste) some commands than to try to describe what they should click on and how. The commands are easy to describe accurately, while telling what to do in the graphical interface requires screenshots and still might leave some room for user error. I'm also more familiar with the command line myself.
Under MS O/S I double click an .exe file or extract a compressed archive and then easily access the contents within it.
This file is a compressed archive. What happens if you double click on it in a file manager (the graphical interface you manage files with)? If your system is configured well, it should show what is in it.
That tutorial is complicated, because it describes how to actually compile an application from source code. Firefox is provided in binaries, so you only need to install the binary.
Still, installing binaries in a Linux system tends to be a bit more complicated than in Windows. Some might say it's a good thing. People install way too much malware in Windows (although a lot of it installs itself). In this case, once you have extracted the tar file, you'll need to run the installer (just like in Windows) as a user, who has a write permission in /usr/local. "root" can write anywhere, but it is a good idea to do as little as possible as root, so if you are paranoid, you can use another user. You can also install it elsewhere, but I would install it to /usr/local.
Once you've run the installer as a user with the required privileges, you still have one more problem. I do not think the installer knows how to automatically add a launcher or menu item in your desktop environment, so you'll have to do it manually. As far as I know, this has been fixed in Gnome 2.10 if the installer knows how to do it.
Also, if you install software this way and want to get rid of it, you will have to delete the installed files manually. On the contrary it should be really easy to install and remove any programs your distribution provides at least if you are using a Debian based distribution such as Ubuntu. (I haven't used an RPM based distribution for a while, so I won't say anything about them.)