I'm trying to download and install software for my Ubuntu Linux machine. I've downloaded it by wget or the download link and so I get this tar.gz file. After that, I extracted it and saved it to my desktop. What's the next step? How do I install this kind of software?

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    1.Have you searched for whatever software you want in the Ubuntu repositories?/2.Have you searched for a PPA/3.Software distributed in source (tar file) often have instructions how to install or run the software. Dec 30, 2012 at 7:00
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    possible duplicate of How to install a .tar.gz (or .tar.bz2) file? Dec 30, 2012 at 7:01
  • yeah... I'm trying to download mobilepcmonitor.com
    – user117598
    Dec 30, 2012 at 7:06
  • I try that, it didnt work
    – user117598
    Dec 30, 2012 at 7:07
  • There is a readme inside, have you read it?, what errors do you have?, why do you say it doesn't work?, what doesn't work?. Dec 30, 2012 at 7:17

2 Answers 2


To install one usually only needs a few commands. After downloading and placing the tar in the directory you wish to install it in (I use my home dir as it is easy) follow the steps by opening a terminal and making sure you are in your home by typing


This will show the files in the directory and you should also see pcmonitor.tar.gz listed

Next you want to unpack pcmonitor.tar.gz with

tar xzvf pcmonitor.tar.gz

This will create a directory named pcmonitor. Check for it by using ls. Now you want to run install do this with

sudo ./install

The sudo is because the installation needs root privledges. From here the installation should take over. Hope this helps.

P.S. It is note worthy to state that this install is not the usual

tar xvzf *.tar.gz
cd *
./configure [options]
sudo make install

that works for many other tarballs you may download in the future.

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    what happens if there is no install file or build commands? just a pre-compiled binary with associated subfolders. Oct 6, 2017 at 19:06

There are two common approaches to install a software/package in Ubuntu:

  1. Search for the software package you are looking in the Ubuntu Software Center, if you find the package in Ubuntu Software Center then all you need to do is click the Install button (it needs working Internet connection) and you are done!

  2. Extract the tar.gz and follow the steps as shown here. If your downloaded file contains .deb extension use the command dpkg -i package.deb or simply open it with Synaptic Package Manager.

  • I would put more emphasis on the importance of using the Software Center: many people use to manually download and install software, sometimes creating serious conflicts between distribution packages and third-party software. Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47

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