One of the huge advantages of Ubuntu is the very easy to use Package Manager. One major disadvantage is that if your software is not in the repository and you can’t find a .deb of it anyway, you’re probably going to have to end up installing from source.
Now this isn’t a huge problem for the hardcore Linux users who are probably using Gentoo, but for those of us who are on Ubuntu, it would be nice to have a less interactive way of doing it.
I wonder how difficult it would be for Synaptic to have an add on that would import a tarball, make sure necessary libraries (build-essentials, etc) are installed and install the tarball for you? This way it could put the config files and binaries all where it would have put them if it was a package from the repository to maintain a level of consistency.
Just an idea….