I read the answers to similar questions but it did not help me. My computer runs on Xubuntu, a derivative of Ubuntu. I am trying to install a package from this website : https://github.com/Zettelkasten-Team/Zettelkasten/releases/ I downloaded the source code (tar.gz) and extracted the archive to a folder, but I have no idea what to do next to install the programm that I am looking to use, or even where it is located inside the folder. I know how to handle basic commands on a terminal but I am lost when no detailed instructions are given.

  • Did you install the Java Development Kit (JDK) and Maven, as it says here? Then just issue the command given: mvn clean package.
    – Jos
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 13:32
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    it is easier to download the jar package itself and start it with java -jar /path/to/Zettelkasten-versionsnr.jar
    – nobody
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 13:33
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    this is github.com/Zettelkasten-Team/Zettelkasten/releases/download/… jar file for Zettelkasten.
    – nobody
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 14:29
  • I get the following message when running this command : "Error: Unable to access jarfile /path/to/Zettelkasten-versionsnr.jar" I guess this has to do with this "path/to" that I don't understand... I simply put the jar file on my desktop and went into the desktop with the terminal, I thought it would be sufficient... Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 18:27
  • Are you saying that you don't know the path to your desktop (/home/$YOUR_USERNAME/Desktop/$FILENAME.jar)? Or the shortcut to your home directory (~/Desktop/$FILENAME.jar)?
    – user535733
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


You cannot know how to install a .tar.gz package. A .tar.gz package is a compressed archive file, i.e., several files stored in a single .tar file, and compressed so they take less disk space.

To install software that is delivered in a .tar.gz package, you depend on the instructions provided by the software developper, in as far as the contents of the .tar.gz package does not give a clue. The contents could be a binarary file you can run directly, it could contain an installation script that installs binary files, or it could be source code that you need to compile and install yourself.

Take a look at the contents. Authors quite commonly provide instructions in a file called READMEor something else. If you need help installing one particular package, you may open a specific question for that package on this site. What I did here, is answering to the question that you currently asked.

In case of the application you link to, information on how to build the source code actually does not appear to be included in the archive. Some very sparse installation instructions are provided on the project's github page.

You may have better luck not compiling the application yourself, but instead selecting to download the .jar file, which should run on any supported java environment on Windows, Mac and Linux alike. I, for one, could fire up the interface with the command java -jar Zettelkasten-3.3.0.jar after downloading the .jar file on Ubuntu 21.04.

  • Thanks for your answer. I did hesitate whether to put "file" or package in my title, which I will edit. And yes I had a look at the README in the archive, but as you noted nothing here of help... Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 16:14
  • Just go for the .jar download and run it as I indicated: I tested this myself. If the answer helped you, then consider "accepting" it, i.e., click the checkmark that appears to the left of the answer. This also helps future users find useful answers.
    – vanadium
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 16:23
  • After several stupid mistakes I was able to open the programm. I get this warning on the terminal though : "WARNING: Could not open file! Filepath is null!", not sure what it means. Anyway, thanks a lot. Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 20:59

A tar.gz file (exactly the same as a .tgz file) is basically a ZIP file in purpose, just using a different internal structure and different compression engine. So the question for how to install a "ZIP file" is what has been asked. The only answer is "it depends on what it contains." Often, files like that include a README or INSTALL text file with more instructions. Often, the developer will slap something into those text files which makes since for his/her knowledge and skill level, ignoring that people much less technical in that specific area might be reading the files, trying to setup everything.

If those files don't exist or are unclear, first be very nice when asking for help, but also don't demand help. These people are typically volunteering their time.

A .tgz file isn't really an installible "package" like a .deb or .rpm or .apk file. That's the main take-away here.

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