use whichever distro you like! its great to dowload many distros and try them out, whether installing on your computer or simply running off of the cd (LiveCD's). is ubuntu your first and only distro? which version are you using, 4/warty or 5/hoary? i first used warty but found it to be unstable for many basic things i did (not saying it is unstable, just saying it was for me and maybe because of how i had set it up). couple weeks ago i downloaded and am now running ubuntu 5 hoary preview release, which i believe will be finished and released in april. i find it to be much better than version 4, although still buggy (again, maybe just for me).
to find out how alien works type (in a terminal window) "man nameOfApplication" (without quotes), or in this case:
when using "man" pages, use the space bar to go down a page, up/down arrows to go up/down 1 line, or page up/page down to go up/down a page.
to get a very brief description of what a command/utility is, type "whatis nameOfApplication" without quotes... to find where a command/utility is installed (located) type "whereis nameOfApplication" (without quotes, of course replacing the word with the command in particular).
from typing "man alien", it says that it is a program to 'convert and install an alien binary package.' i dont know what an 'alien binary package' is... i would say it is a package converted from a rpm/deb/slp,etc package using the 'alien' utility. read the 'options' that the man page tells you about. ie, the option "-d" will convert the given package name to a ".deb" package file. the option "-i" will install the package apparently. so you could do something like
alien -d LimeWireLinux.rpm
to create a ".deb" (debian package, which ubuntu uses, among others), and then continue trying to install that file...?
i am quite very new to linux and think ubuntu 5 is the only one i can stand for now (from the 10+ distro's iv tested). i dont install many programs, because i only use linux when i have spare time to fool around breaking stuff to learn
so when i do install stuff, it is usually only updating programs through synaptic which is very easy. on the rare occation i do install programs i just follow the exact instructions on the install site. i suggest, for limewire as example, try running the command it says on the help page on their website to install it. run the command (from the directory you downloaded it to)
or whatever. i downloaded that file last night and tried that command, but it gave error saying java virtual machine was required first... i didnt bother continuing cuz of the time... but from there what you do is go to the java.sun.com site or whichever it is, and install the files (JRE i believe, java runtime environment). it should have good instructions on there and be somewhat straight forward if you follow it. then after getting used to those installs you can move on to other methods, like alien or whatever... thats only my suggestion, whether right or wrong.
but to answer your question, to install the rpm package using alien, type
sudo alien -i LimeWireLinux.rpm
"sudo" i thought is mostly used on ubuntu (or maybe debian-based distros, i dont know, dont quote me.).. it stands for "switch user; do" or "super-user do", or something similar i believe. doesnt really matter i would say. sudo allows you to run a single command as the 'root' (almighty/admin/owner/god) user. the alien command i told you requires 'root access'.. so you type 'sudo ' in front of it to run that command with root access. the "-i" means 'install', as you will see explained in the man page,
i just ran the command on my computer, and it did a bunch of thinking then displayed the prompt again, which is a good sign meaning no errors. you can then type 'whereis limewire' to see where it installed it. or simply 'limewire' to run it. i tried to run it, but it, again, gave error about no java runtime environment installed therefore i would need to update/install JRE from the java site.. which i wont bother with right now because my mp3 player (xmms) which i installed from the terminal freezes whenever i play a song!
to find the readme file you are looking for, type the following
sudo find / -name "README.Debian"
including quotes, type the exact file name, i dont remember what you typed so what i told you might be wrong filename. the reason you need 'sudo'/root access for the command, is because only root can view/list/read some of the directories you are searching in, and therefore need to be root when you run the command. that should probably take a moment to complete, then list any directorys where this file is. the "/" means to look in the / directory.. everything on your computer resides in the / (root) directory, either directly or in sub-dir's.