Permissions, access and other problems converting a tar.gz

I have given myself and my group all the permissions available...not a good idea, but what else to do?????       Downloaded a tar.gz file to /home/az/downloads.  Command ./configure did not work as the bash considered the attempt as an command to drill down to a sub-folder.Tried, in the terminal,   sudo aptitude install build-essentials, w/o success; also tried with apt-get, still none.Moved to folder with the file, typed ./configure  -- no more success than before.Tried to move, copy, or set up a link to the file to /usr/src where I had successfully created a sub-folder, downloads,  but could not do much as I am not the owner of src.  So, no joy!   All this in the hope of converting the tar.gz to a deb file using the alien command.I am enjoying this attempt to escape the clutches of Big Bad Blue, but  XP, might, in the end, present the only sanctuary from my failures. 

You're missing the easy way.

To decompress a tar.gz file, navigate to the directory in Nautilus and then right-click on the tar.gz file, just as you would in Windows. There should be an option in there for extracting the tar.gz file.

Another way to accomplish this is to navigate to the directory in a terminal and then issue the command "tar -xvzf filename.tar.gz".

Having said that, I'm not sure what it is you're trying to do, because the different methods you mentioned for installing a program are not all interchangeable. Therefore, you would use the ./configure command if you're trying to build from source, the apt-get command to install a package without doing anything else or the alien command to convert a rpm package to a deb for installing with gdebi. These are three different methods for installing three different types of installation files. Your best bet is to use apt-get, if possible.

The reason the apt-get command didn't work for you is because the package is named build-essential, rather then build-essentials. The reason the./configure command didn't work is probably because you had nothing to configure, although there may have been something within the tar.gz archive, if it had been decompressed.

Finally, you should never change permissions if you don't know what you're doing, because you could potentially mess things up to the point where they're fubar. I'm not suggesting anything, but I'm not one who believes that anyone can use Linux right now. If you feel that you're better off with XP, then you may very well be. You can always keep Linux installed somewhere to play around with and maybe you'll eventually feel comfortable enough to use it every day.

If you do want to keep using Linux, then I'd suggest that you play it safe, until you learn what you're doing, by only installing software from the official repositories, using the add/remove software link in your system menu. And if you want to learn more, then I'd suggest buying a book, such as "Ubuntu for Dummies", and/or any book that explains the UNIX command-line. Because learning how to use the command-line is essential, imo, and what you will learn can be applied to any UNIX-like operating system, including every flavor of Linux, UNIX, FreeBSD, Solaris and Mac OS X.