There is a good document about building from source and packaging here:http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/docs/packaging
Stretchedthin has been working in some screencasts, check out this thread: http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=8608.msg62966#msg62966
You can use chmod for managing permissions of your files. Many filemanagers can do it with right click on a file or directory and clicking in a properties option. Some guys like midnight commander also (try mc in a terminal).
Many resources are available in the net about getting started in Linux, I would recommend to be patience and take step by step. A book is usually a good idea, maybe your local library has an introduction to linux available.
A good source of information about specific commands are the man pages, try in a terminal for example:
Man pages are usually hard to read for starters though, you need some background for reading them. I like also the Slackbook: http://www.slackbook.org/
Open new threads about your printer and hw acceleration, we will try to help you with those.
Good luck, and please post any question you may have, the forum likes people wanting to learn
EDIT: stretchedthin beat me to the punch for a few seconds