Install software outside of distro package manager

Q My laptop to dual-boots to PCLinuxOS. One thing that trips me up every time I try to install apps from an source code, there is no hyphen shown in the command to decompress the tar. The help shows tar xzvf /mnt, but one must actually type in tar - xzvf /mnt. Installing software is a complete boondoggle with Linux, and any explanation or justification of this situation is pointless. What would be good is if specific instructions for installing each of the cover disc programs were supplied. It would be interesting to see installation for 30 different programs shown in one document. I bet all 30 will be slightly different. For example, I am currently trying to install DEFCON. Where is it made obvious what I'm supposed to do when I type in ./configure and my terminal kicks back:

bash: ./configure: No such file or directory

A Installing software from outside of your distro's package manager can be confusing, because there are several different ways of supplying it. The generic instructions apply to some per cent of software, programs supplied as source code using the autotools suite. In many cases there are installation instructions on the disc, in the form of a README or INSTALL file provided with the software, and these often contain identical instructions. This should be considered gospel when installing, as these are the instructions from the programmers. The leading argument hyphen is unnecessary unless you use a VERY old version of tar. In fact, the z option has been redundant for quite a while as tar is able to detect common forms of compression.

I normally use tar xf filename. The "." is shell notation for the current directory, so ./configure tells the shell to run a program or script called configure in the current directory. Once you understand that, the reason for the error is obvious, there is no configure script with this program. That is because DEFCON is not supplied as source code: this is a binary package that does not require any installation to run. Instead of a configure script you will see a defcon script; run that with ./defcon to start the program. I agree that this is not obvious, the only documentation supplied refers to using Mac OS, but this is a failing of the individual program.

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