Tarballs are a group of files in one file. Tarball files have the extension .tar.gz, .tgz or .tar.bz2. Most open source software use tarballs to distribute programs/source codes.
# 1: Uncompress tarball
To uncompress them, execute the following command(s) depending on the extension:
$ tar zxf file.tar.gz
$ tar zxf file.tgz
$ tar jxf file.tar.bz2
$ tar jxf file.tbz2
Now change directory
$ cd path-to-software/
# 2: Build and install software
Generally you need to type 3 commands as follows for building and compiling software:
Where, ./configure will configure the software to ensure your system has the necessary functionality and libraries to successfully compile the package make will compile all the source files into executable binaries. Finally, make install will install the binaries and any supporting files into the appropriate locations.
# 3: Read INSTALL / README file
Each tarball comes with installation and build instructions.
Open INSTALL or README file for more information:
$ vi INSTALL