Alternative friendly tutorial
tar means the files should have been bound up in tar form and gz means it should have been compressed with gzip. So
tar -xzvf foo.tar.gz
means 'use the tar tool to eXtract and unZip the File foo.tar.gz Verbosely (i.e., list what it's doing)'. You can leave off the 'v'.
You might do this in ~/src or wherever you want to keep your stuff. Then, ideally,
make install (or 'checkinstall' if you've got it and it's definitely worth getting).
That's really all there is to it, if everything goes smoothly and it's posted around here hundreds of time. A search will probably turn up a zillion threads and I think there's a sticky somewhere.