Installing From Source In Linux

I am aware that 99% of people who use linux and visit AntiOnline are probably more than capable of doing this, but I've seen several people in IRC lately who had trouble installing software from a source download.

The method shown below should cover generic installs for all eventualitues (except RPM packages).

For the example, I shall use "nmap-3.00.tar.gz"

1. Find the file type, and decompress
This is more useful than it sounds. For example, you download a .tar.gz file in Mozilla, and Mozilla decompresses it on-the-fly, but saves it with the .gz extension still there - it is now only a tar file, but the file extension suggests you need to run gunzip, or the tar -z option... Running this will tell you more about the file you're trying to install:

file nmap-3.00.tar.gz

The output will tell you that the file is either "gzip compressed file" or "tar archive".
If the file is "gzip compressed", run the following:

gunzip nmap-3.00.tar.gz

This will leave you with a file called nmap-3.00.tar
You can now untar the file,
tar xvf nmap-3.00.tar

If the file has a .bz2 extension, or shows "bzip compressed file" as the output of the file command, you should run:
bunzip2 file.tar.bz2
tar xvf file.tar

2. Configure
Now execute the following:
cd ./nmap-3.00
(of course, use the directory created from the extraction of the files from the tar archive)
(configure scripts can often take paramaters, although usually don't need to unless you are installing software in conjunction with other software (e.g. Apache and PHP) or if your system has required libraries in a different place to usual, you can tell configure where to find them. type ./configure --help to list the options you can pass to the script)

3. Compiling & Installing
If configure ran successfully, i.e. did not exit with an error message, you can now run the following:
make &&
make install
(the && after make prevents 'make install' running unless make successfully completed).

4. Optional Steps
You can now optionally type:
make clean
to clear up a few files and perhaps save a bit of disk space, although this isn't usually a problem for most people living in modern times with computers having excessively large hard drives