You need to know what you're doing with Linux and installing programs, but help is available for some programs. Here are some ways to make life easier.
AstroMake is a utility intended to make installations of some common astronomical packages (in binary form) easy.
XEphem requires several elements to exist on your machine. Life is much simpler with the CDROM version of the program as it contains an installation script which loads the appropriate pre-compiled binary for most systems and places all auxiliary files to the correct spots. See Purchase at XEphem