Some general notes:
First, if possible, always use the package manager to install SW--it is ten times easier than other methods. (I doubt if VMWare is available this way)
Second,"tarballs" is just slang for any group of files that has been archived (and usually compressed). When you extract from the archive, you can have just about anything---source code, install script, .rpm packages, .deb packages, etc. Usually, after extracting, there will be a README file or other clues to tell you what to do next.
Before attempting to install SW by methods other than the package manager, I would recommend "getting comfortable" with the command-line. For some new arrivals raised on Windows, this can be a bit intimidating, but it is not really that difficult.
To extract your tarball:
put it in a folder (directory) I always put "outside" SW in /opt, but you can put it anywhere.
extract using tar. Here you need to know the exact file type. Here are two examples of extraction:
tar -xzvf filename.tar.gz
tar -xjvf filename.tar.bz2
Do "man tar" to see the syntax for other file types
After extraction, go into the new folder that is created, and look for clues--"README", "install", etc. If you see files named "configure" and/or "Makefile", then you have to compile.
Let us know how far you get with this, and more help will flow....