Mint is based on Ubuntu. Have a look at "How to install ANYTHING in Ubuntu!" at http://amitech.50webs.com/installing/index.php.html
and "Installing Software in Ubuntu" at http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/installingsoftware
As Psychocats says: "Most Windows users who migrate to Ubuntu end up confused about software installation. They go to a website, download a .tar.gz file, double-click it, and don't see a Next-Next-Next-Finish wizard. This tutorial is intended to introduce you to the preferred methods of software installation in Ubuntu.
Rather than leaving it up to the user to track down installer files and keep applications updated, Ubuntu (like many other Linux distributions) has a software package management system that provides a searchable database of easily installable applications (like an online shopping cart but the software is cost-free), which it will download and install for you with a few clicks."
So your FIRST action should be to see if it can be automatically downloaded and installed from REPOSITORY. Your LAST action should be to use a .tar or start compiling!!!