Different Linux Distributions have different ways of installing software.

A generic way is to use a TarBall, which includes the source files for the program. You have to compile the software so you can run it.

  1. Uncompress the file using tar(1)

    • tar xvfz file.tar.gz
    • tar xvfj file.tar.bz2
  2. Change to the uncompressed directory

    • cd file/
  3. Run the configure script. This sets up a MakeFile which enables the software to compile and run on your system.

    • ./configure
  4. Build the program

    • make
  5. Change to the SuperUser

    • su
  6. Install the software

    • make install
  7. Close the terminal

    • exit

Redhat and Mandriva

Redhat and Mandriva use the Redhat Package Manager (RPM) to install and maintain software. Programs are released as binary files in an rpm package.

To install:

  1. Change to the SuperUser

    • su
  2. Install the package

    • rpm -Uvh file-1.1-1.i386.rpm]
    • U: Upgrade. This will install the program if it isn't installed, and upgrade it if a lower version exists on the system
    • v: verbose. Spit out warnings and errors instead of being quiet (not needed)
    • h: hash. Display a series of #'s showing progress (not needed)
  • Other options

    • i: Install. This will only work if you don't have a newer version of the program installed. You should always install new kernel RPMs this way to stop your old one being overwritten.

Mandriva also has the urpmi tool to manage packages and dependancies.

Ubuntu and Debian

apt-get install packagename

Look perhaps at the graphical tool 'synaptic' first.


installpkg packagename.tgz