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I was trying to install get several programs. I realized that a lot of the installations came in the form of tar and deb files. I have no idea how to install tar files so I searched and found that you can covert them into deb files and install them using the Ubuntu Software Center.

So I did that, but when the deb file finished installing I looked for the program in the dash and could not find it. When I looked at the install section in the Ubuntu Software Center it was not there either. I just want to see if anyone can give me steps on how to install both deb and tar files since I’m new to Ubuntu and only used to the install processes in Windows. I really like this OS and would like to learn.

By the way, would some programming knowledge be needed to use this OS to its full potential? If so, what can I do to learn?

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There are several methods to install a program in Ubuntu. I will list them in order of ease.

  1. Look for the program in the Ubuntu Software Center.

    By default, Ubuntu provides many programs which are free. These programs are available in your Ubuntu Software Center. This is the most hassle-free way to install, because once you install from the Software Center, any updates which come will be directly integrated with system update.

    Also, it takes care of dependencies between software. For example, when a program wants to use a particular version of a shared library which is not available in your system, the Software Center downloads the required library.

  2. Using PPAs. PPA stands for Personal Package Archives. These are software bundled for Ubuntu provided by the community. The updates are also integrated into system update. But be sure you are installing from a trusty source. In this method you add a source URL to your system. Install the software provided into that repo. One such example is Google Chrome. It is not available in Ubuntu’s repo, but you can add it and install Chrome.

    For more information, please read “What are PPAs and how do I use them?

  3. Installing from source: This is what you get in tar/zipped format. This is general way of installing software in any Linux OS. In this process, you compile the program from source.

    On the other hand, the deb files are nothing but a compiled form of software which are packaged in a way that is understandable by Ubuntu for an easier installation process.

    The big disadvantage of compiling from source is that for any update you have to compile it again. If your software depends on the kernel (like the drivers), on each update you need to compile again.

    To know more about the process, please read “How do I install a .tar.gz (or .tar.bz2) file?

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