The last post I wrote about installing software on Linux, I only mentioned the sh function with .bin files and ./[program-name] to run the installation program. Now, I will somewhat extend on the latter.
Most of the times you download software for Linux, it will be messy, uncompiled code. If you open up the terminal (after unzipping the .tar.whatever file), navigate to the folder using the cd command (remember: Unix is case-sensitive unless you're on the Mac platform) and run the following commands in order (if it's a tar.gz file):
tar -zxvf [filename]
Now, to run the program, check the Applications menu of your distro. It will probably not be there. No worries. Launch your terminal and type in the name of the command (like googleearth or gftp) for the program to start up. Just so you don't forget what programs you installed on your machine, keep a little text file just in case.
I have somehow actually successfully installed some Linux software on my Mac with X11 - comes free on your OS X installation disk (X11 is the Unix windowing system - Apple built something in a way that you can't do that through terminal .... go figure!). However, depending on the software you're installing (like gFTP vs. FireFox), one (in this case, FireFox) may take longer to work than another.
I have moved my blog to Wordpress at theunixgeek.wordpress.com. I will still be checking back periodically on this one as well, though. 19 April 2009