Originally Posted by watts3000
I guess manily I just want to be able to install whatever app I want know matter what form its in.
That's quite a tall order....
There are 3 basic ways to install:
Packages---eg .rpm and .deb
Direct---usually thru some kind of script
Source---Compiling on your machine
Packages are done with a package manager on your system. RedHat is one of many distros that use RPM. You can use the GUI package manager or you can use the "rpm" command in a terminal.
suffixes like .tar, .gz, .bz, etc. have nothing to do with installing SW---they are simply ways of assembling and compressing groups of files.
If the application comes with .tar and/or .gz, .bz---then you start by uncompressing and unpacking the files. The "tar" command does all this---see "man tar" for the details.
After "un-tarring" an archive, you are typically left with a folder. This **might** be source files, but not always---you might find .rpm or just an installer script. If I remember correctly, Thunderbird just runs whereever you unpack it---no install step.
As always, read the instructions for the particular thing you are installing.