windows user... installating anything in ubuntu

i'm a windows user who got tired of the same thing, i wanted something new, however, i can't install files on ubuntu (dapper drake)

i've been trying for a day now to get anything installed, although i won't give up. i've gone through countless websites, however many variations i try, i can never get anythign to work (well i must admit i can get things decompressed)

does anyone have any ubuntu specific instructions?

Any help would be much appreciated,
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  1. well I am actually a fedora core user, but from what I have heard you can use a tool called apt or something like that to get .deb files. In case you are even newer than I think you may be and don't know what .deb files are I will elaborate. .deb files are a kind of executable file that is used in the Debian linux distribution (ubuntu is based on debian) and you can use them to install programs. The alternative to this would be installing a program from source.

    If you don't know what installation from source means either, I'll explain that too. Basically, all programs are written in a programming language (like c or c++) and then they need to be compiled to make instructions that your computer can execute. The source files are just text files containing statements in the language the program was written in. To install a program from source, you would download an archive (usually a .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 file) containing the source, then you uncompress it and then in the terminal you type ./configure .
    When that shell script is finished doing its configuration you type "make" and press enter which will cause the program to begin compiling. You then type "make install" in the shell which will install the program into a predefined directory (which is defined by "configure"). I know this isn't really ubuntu specific, but I figure since it works under any kind of linux, generalized help is better than no help, yes?

    If you need to understand how apt works (which is probably an easier installation method than from source) open up a terminal and type "man apt" and it will bring up the manual for the apt program. If you want to exit the manual, just type "q" and it will take you back to your terminal. I hope this was useful to you. Good luck with your Linux adventure :D


    p.s. installation from source will NOT work if you don't have the "dependencies" for the program you are trying to install. This just means that you are lacking some libraries that the program needs, which means that the software is incomplete. If you get messages about missing dependencies/packages, go download and install those and then try installing your program again.
  2. wow... the dependencies were my problem... i did not realise that until you mentioned it. i knew about the .DEB files, but even when i installed one (truecrypt) i couldn't find where/how to access it, but using synaptic (like add/remove programs in windows) i managed to find that it WAS installed

    thanks for pointing out the dependencies... the readme listed some dependencies, but i didn't know that they were that important and i thought they would be standard with ubuntu.

    whenever i try the ./configure command, i get an error which says that the command was not found (not sure on the exact message) would dependencies affect that too?

  3. I will give you an example just to make it as clear as possible for you.

    Lets pretend for a minute like we are installing xmms from source (xmms is like winamp).

    1) First i'd go to the site and download the source which would probably be named something like xmms.tar.gz.

    2) Then you decompress the folder by typing the following "tar -zxvf xmms.tar.gz" which will cause the tar program to unzip the file and place all the contents of the archive in a folder with a similar name to the archive (in this case the folder will be called xmms). Keep in mind that unless you explicity tell tar where to put the unziped files, it will just create a similarly named directory for the contents IN YOUR CURRENT WORKING DIRECTORY. Just in case you don't know, your current working directory will be referenced in your prompt which would be something like Ara@directory or something like that. If you want to know the full path for your current directory type pwd and push enter.

    3) now you will want to cd into the new directory (in our case we type cd xmms) and our current working directory will be the newly unzipped folder.

    4)once you are inside, if you type ls to list all the contents of the current directory you will see that there is a file called "configure" in there. THAT is the same configure as in "./configure" The thing that you need to realize is that it is actually a program in and of itself that is specific to each program you are trying to install, which is why you got the error saying that the command was not found. That is to say there is no "configure" command installed on your system as a whole: it is only something you use for each program you compile and as a result the only way to run it is to give the absolute file path to run the program. "./configure" literally means 'run the program configure that is found in the directory i am currently in'.

    5)everything else is the same as I wrote before

    The nice thing about working with package management systems like apt or synaptic (or yum in fedora core) is that THEY will AUTOMATICALLY take care of dependency issues for you. All you have to say is "install such and such program" and it will make sure you have everything you need to run it. As such, only try compiling from source when you have to because unless you are really experienced, you could end up breaking programs when you install others. If you want me to explain about that to you just say so and I'd be happy to fill you in on some of the details.

    Hope this helped.

  4. that pretty much explains it, i thought that the ./configure input was a system command, recognized by the system, not depending upon the program

    thanks alot
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