What is a alpha, tar, gz?
You are right, the file is compressed similar to a windows zip file.
Alpha -i think - refers to the 'release version' of your software.
tar.gz is the compression / archive part.
tar means tape archive. It is called this as it was originally used to make backups on tape. It just packs many files into a single archive and is a program that is built into most linux systems.
tar does not 'compress' data. This is done by the gzip program i.e gz. Again this program is built into most linux systems now.
To open your file do the following:
1. open a shell, cd to the directory holding the file BitchX-1.0c16-Linux-glibc2-alpha.tar.gz.
2. To extract this archive type: gunzip -9c BitchX ...etc.tar.gz | tar xvf -
this will automatically create a new extracted directory.
3. Follow the README / INSTALL instructions contained in the directory to install the software.
There are many many options for tar.gz files. If you look at the system manual pages you will find a good introduction to the scope of these tools. But i recommend investing in a good linux system administration book.
There are easier ways to install software for your system. With RPM the whole task is automated...
How to run programs?
Typically you can run a program by clicking on a selection from a menu, or by typing the program name at the command line....