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I've been aware of Linux for a while and have had numerous attempts at using it. I've now got my machine running SuSE 9.1 and want to start using it properly instead of just stabbing at random bits and getting upset when it doesn't work (as I have done in the past).
One thing, which I've tried in the past and still confuses me is the whole installation thing. Coming from a Windows background, I'm obviously used to the old "double click and go" system. RPM's are just as easy especially with YaST but I've downloaded Thunderbird from Mozilla... "thunderbird-0.7.1-i686-linux-gtk2+xft.tar.gz". If I click on it, it opens up and shows me loads of files (i guess it's a sort of compressed file?) but I'm clueless as to what I need to do with them. Is there a setup file to execute? Is this the actual fileset? Do I have to modify the files to work with this version on Linux? No idea, see...
If anyone can help, it would be appreciated, but remember, I'm new so step by step would be nice. I would like to learn the theory behind how to get it to work so I can apply it to some other .tar.gz files I have downloaded.
the command tar -zxvf <filename> will extract the contents of a zipped tar file. Then you can cd to the newly creeated directory (will have almost the same name as the tar file, usually everything up to but excluding the .tar.gz.
Then you can cd into that directory, and file the readme to see how to go about the installation.
That's great. Works a treat. Still need to learn about install though, I'll look for some info on the web... Thanks for the help guys. This desktop is starting to look like home.
Don't suppose you know if it's possible to change the inbox store location in Thunderbird. In that other OS (Windows) I always put imortant things on a seperate partition to avoid loss of data during re-installs. Can't find anything obvious under OPTIONS.
I recently converted all the way over to using Linux and figuring out how to install was a little confusing for me as well. Here's how I do it now (installing from source):
1. Download the filename.tar.gz or filename.tar.bz2 file to /usr/local/src (technically you can install anywhere, but it sounds like this is the "recommended" place to start)
2. Go to a terminal/command-line, check that you're logged on as a user (not root yet at this point) and type "cd /usr/local/src"
3. Next it's helpful to understand what a .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 file is. Tar is the program that archives the files, and gzip and bzip2 compress the files.
4. If you downloaded filename.tar.gz, type "tar -zxvf filename.tar.gz" and if it was filename.tar.bz2, type "tar -jxvf filename.tar.gz"
5. Just a note on the options to tar above... "z" indicates that the file has to be ungzipped before untarring, "j" means unbzip it, "x" means extract the tar file (as opposed to creating it), "v" means "verbose" and results in all the extracted files being printed to the screen so you can see something is happening, and "f" means "whatever I type next is the file"
6. "cd filename" (or whatever was before the .tar.gz)
7. Now you read the INSTALL file (if it exists, and maybe the README file as well) to learn how to install the program. "pico INSTALL" should work for now.
8. Next just follow the instructions in the install file, although the vast majority of programs just require the following:
10. "make" (if ./configure didn't give you any errors about not having something that is required)
11. "su" (to change to root, you have to be root to do the last step)
12. "make install"
13. Now everything should be installed and you can usually just type "filename" to start the program.
With that said, as others said above, a few programs like Thunderbird and Firefox don't need to be installed... everything is already in the extracted folder. You can just type "./thunderbird" in that directory or, if you want to be able to type "thunderbird" anywhere and get it to start, add a symlink to your path like this: "ln -s /path/to/thunderbird /usr/local/bin/thunderbird"
Your Thunderbird mail is stored in "~/.thunderbird/default.???/Mail" (I believe), and I know there's some series of steps you can follow to get the mail stored somewhere else, but I don't remember off the top of my head (search google for sharing mail between windows and linux and there should be something that gets you started).