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Noob question - best way to install software

I've been using Debian for about a month, and just upgraded to Etch.  I'm very happy with it so far - my compliments to the people who create this great piece of work.

I am wondering about the best way to install software.  I have used the "apt-get" method, which is pretty simple, and have also downloaded and compiled from source "tarballs" which is a little more complicated but doesn't seem to be a big deal.  Are there significant advantages and disadvantages to these methods, besides just convenience?  I worry about dependencies, and maybe messing stuff up with "apt-get update."

Thanks for your advice.


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