How to Install Linux Programs from TGZ Files: 7 Easy Steps

Do you need to install a Linux program from a TGZ file? A TGZ file is an archive (like a ZIP file) that contains compressed files, so you'll need to extract those files before you can install the program. While this might sound complicated, it's easy to do, even if you're not comfortable at the command line. This minHour tutorial will guide you through compiling and installing a program on Ubuntu, Debian, Kali, and any other flavor of Linux from a TGZ file.

Enter the directory that contains your TGZ file.

An easy way to do this is to do so through your file explorer.

Just navigate to the TGZ file in your file explorer, right-click an empty space in the folder, and then select .

  • You can also use the cd command in a Terminal window to enter the directory. For example, if the TGZ file is on your Desktop, you’d use cd Desktop to enter that directory.
  • While installing software from a TGZ isn’t difficult or uncommon, it’s usually faster and easier to install software using a package manager.

Unpack the TGZ file.

Run the command tar -xzvf filename.tgz.

Replace filename with the name of your own file. This extracts the files from the TGZ file to the current directory.

  • Run ls -a to view the files in the current directory. You should now see a new directory that contains the files you’ve just extracted.

Enter the new directory.

Use cd to enter the new directory.

For example, if you unpacked a file called program.tgz and now have a directory called program in the current directory, you’d use cd program to enter the program directory.

View the README or INSTALL file.

In most cases, you’ll find a text file called README or INSTALL.

This file contains specific instructions for compiling and installing the program. You’ll want to read the contents of this file so you know about any installation requirements or quirks. There are a few ways you can read the contents of the file:

  • To view the whole file at once, use cat README.
  • If the file is several pages long, it’ll be easier to use more README to read the file one page at a time. Just press the down arrow or the spacebar to move through the pages.
  • If the README or INSTALL file instructs you to make changes to a particular file, you can do so by editing the file using nano or vim.

Run the configure script.

Look for a file called configure in the new directory.

If there is a configure script, run ./configure. The configure script prepares the software for your particular computer and creates a Makefile.

  • If the configure script throws an error due to a missing dependency, you’ll need to install the missing dependencies before you’ll be able to compile and install the program. You can install the missing dependencies easily using a package manager like Synaptic, apt-get, or dpkg.
  • If there is no configure script, double-check the README or INSTALL file. You may have to run a script that has a different name, such as Before running that script, make it executable using chmod u+x Then, run it by typing ./

Compile the program.

Run the make command.

This uses the information in the new Makefile to compile the program, which you’ll then be able to install. When the program is finished compiling, you’ll return to the prompt.

Install the compiled program.

Run sudo make install and enter your password.

Once your password is accepted, the compiled program will install.

  • If you try to run the program at the command line and get “command not found,”

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