I found this page today that finally helped me understand how to install applications in Linux: HOWTO: Use dpkg to Install .deb Files:
To install a .deb file, become root and use the command:
dpkg -i filename.deb
In order for me to run the command as root, I was supposed to use:
sudo dpkg -i filename.deb
However, I got access denied or something like that. I went to the support folks and I was asked if the installation file was in home, which was on the network. It turned out that the installation file had to be in the tmp folder on my local hard drive in order to be able to run sudo. Once I copied the file over to the tmp folder, the command worked like a charm.
As much as I like Ubuntu-flavored Linux, my least favorite aspect is installing applications. It’s not as easy as in Windows where I can just double-click an installer file. The documentation is essentially non-existent. I guess they expect that if you use Linux, you just magically know how to do things.
The cool thing about Ubuntu is that it comes with a lot of applications already installed. However, I wanted to supplement my Firefox browser with Opera. The Opera website wasn’t very helpful in helping install the package after I downloaded the file. I had to have a friend help me install it a few months ago. I don’t know why, but something went wrong with my machine today and it had to be re-imaged, resulting in the loss of Opera. I really wanted to be able to figure out how to install Opera on my own so I don’t have to keep bugging someone else to help me every time I needed it. Finding the instructions above has given me some linux independence. Woohoo!