Adventures with open source apps on Linux - Part 2

Adventures with open source apps on Linux - Part 2

Summary: Today's post is a change from the "Adventures with open source apps on Linux" I had planned (that will now become Part 3 in the series). In this post I'll be covering how to add multimedia support to Ubuntu.

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Today's post is a change from the "Adventures with open source apps on Linux" I had planned (that will now become Part 3 in the series). In this post I'll be covering how to add multimedia support to Ubuntu.

Read Part 1 here

Check out the Adventures with open source apps on Linux - Part 2 gallery here

The inspiration to cover this topic again (last time I covered this was in relation to Ubuntu 7.04 and using Automatix) is down to TalkBack regular pjotr123 (a regular who has made some excellent contributions to Linux-related posts made on this blog) who made two posts that concisely covers the topic. I was going to cover multimedia support in passing but given the email I've received asking about multimedia support in Ubuntu (not everyone reads the TalkBack ... I know, I know, they should, but what can I do?) I've decided to give this stand-alone coverage.

Another reason for giving this process attention is that it gives the Ubuntu beginner a chance to wade out a little bit deeper into Linux waters by experimenting with some more advanced aspects of the OS, yet at the same time remain safe. This experience can be an excellent confidence booster for the Linux newbie.

Adding support for common media -->

Adding support for common media

Let's first add support for common media file types.

Note: I'm going to assume that you have access to the Internet to make any required downloads.

  1. Click Applications > Add/Remove ... to bring up the Add/Remove Applications screen (you may be prompted to update the list of available applications).
  2. From the Show dropdown box select All available applications. ubuntu_mm_05_sm.png
  3. In the Search box type mp3 and wait for the list of applications to be updated.
  4. From the list of applications select the following to install: - Ubuntu restricted extras - Gstreamer extra plugins - Gstreamer ffmpeg video plugin - VLC media player - Mplayer Movie Player - Audacious - gxine ubuntu_mm_07_sm.png To select these you will have to confirm the installation of restricted software and enable installation of unsupported and restricted software.
  5. Click Apply changes and confirm the installation of the software.
  6. Once you are done close the Add/Remove Applications screen.
  7. Click System Administration > Synaptic Package Manager to bring the Synaptic Package Manager screen (you will have to enter your password to conform the launch of this application). ubuntu_mm_20_sm.png
  8. In the toolbar click Search and look for openjdk.
  9. From the list right-click on openjdk-6-jre and openjdk-6-jre-headless and select Mark for Complete Removal. You will next be asked to confirm the removal of other components such as icedtea_gcjwebplugin, which are OK to remove. ubuntu_mm_22_sm.png
  10. Click Apply and Apply again. The system will carry out the changes you requested. Click Close when done.
  11. In the toolbar click Search and look for sun java.
  12. Find sun-java6-jre and sun-java6-plugin, right-click on each and select Mark for Installation. You will be asked to confirm additional required changes. ubuntu_mm_33_sm.png
  13. Click Apply and Apply again. The system will carry out the changes you requested. Click Close when done.
  14. In the toolbar click Search and look for vlc plugin.
  15. Find mozilla-plugin-vlc, right-click on this and select Mark for Installation.
  16. Click Apply and Apply again. The system will carry out the changes you requested. Click Close when done.
  17. In the toolbar click Search and look for mplayer plugin.
  18. Find mozilla-mplayer, right-click on this and select Mark for Installation.
  19. Click Apply and Apply again. The system will carry out the changes you requested. Click Close when done.

Adding even more support -->

By getting this far you've added support for a not of different multimedia file types, such as MP3, MPEG1, MPEG2, DivX and WMV. If this is enough support for you then you can stop here. However, if you want to add support for commercial DVDs and other proprietary media formats, read on ...

  1. Click Applications > Accessories > Terminal to bring up a terminal window. ubuntu_mm_49_sm.png
  2. Type the following: sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.old Press Enter. You will then be asked for your password. Note that when you type this noting will be displayed on screen. Press Enter again. ubuntu_mm_50_sm.png
  3. Type the following: gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list Press Enter.
  4. A text file will be opened in gedit. At the very end add the following line: deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ hardy free non-free Save the file and close gedit. ubuntu_mm_53_sm.png
  5. Switch back to the terminal window and type the following: wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add - Press Enter. ubuntu_mm_55_sm.png
  6. To reload the software repositories, type the following into the terminal window: sudo apt-get update Press Enter.
  7. Click System Administration > Synaptic Package Manager to bring the Synaptic Package Manager screen (you will have to enter your password to confirm the launch of this application).
  8. In the toolbar click Search and look for w32codecs. ubuntu_mm_59_sm.png
  9. Find w32codecs, right-click on this and select Mark for Installation.  You will be asked to confirm additional required changes.
  10. Click Apply and Apply again. The system will carry out the changes you requested. ubuntu_mm_63_sm.png
  11. In the toolbar click Search and look for libdvdcss2.
  12. Find libdvdcss2, right-click on this and select Mark for Installation.  You will be asked to confirm additional required changes. ubuntu_mm_68_sm.png
  13. Click Apply and Apply again. The system will carry out the changes you requested.
  14. Finally, go to System > Administration > Software Sources. Click on the Third-Party Software tab and uncheck http://packages.medibuntu.org/ hardy free non free. Click Close (ignore the request to reload the list).
  15. Job done!

 Enjoy!

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Topics: Software, Browser, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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85 comments
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  • One of the reasons I prefer PCLinuxOS 2007

    I found that all media support was enabled out of the box.
    NonZealot
    • Really?

      Even DVD?
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Same on SLACKWARE 12.0

        But I did have to go off shore and get libdvdcss.so.2 for XINE, but everything else works.

        Even using some Window CODECS with it so I can view all the WINDOW based stuff.
        Linux_4u!
      • Yes.

        I honestly think they are openly defiant, daring the multimedia conglomerates to come after them.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Even on Linspire, which is Ubuntu based.

        I prefer Linspire, or Freespire if you hate paying as most Linux folks do.
        Narg
        • Ubuntu based?

          Linspire is based on Debian, not Ubuntu. Ubuntu is also based on Debian.
          cmjrees
          • Enjoy the DRM

            And be happy that big brother Microsoft and his little sisters the RIAA and the MPAA have determined what you can and cannot do with you computer.
            b.bob
          • Ment for another message

            Oops
            b.bob
      • Mandriva Powerpack too

        Though, cause you pay some $60 USD for it I suppose you've already paid up front.

        Still it's nice to install them all off the top.

        ttfn

        john
        TtfnJohn
    • PCLOS 2007 - get win32 codecs from repo

      With PCLOS 2007 you need to get the win32 codecs from the repo. They don't work out of the box. I've used PCLOS a LOT, and know that as a fact.

      If you want all multimedia working right out of the box, get Linux Mint.
      Don Collins
      • Linux MINT

        Linux MINT even plays DVDs from a fresh install.

        Best distro for home use I've seen. Installed it on my daughter's HP laptop and she loves it.
        User07734
      • Or you coud just get Windows

        And save all the pain.
        Crestview
        • And do the same thing...

          ...download the codecs as you hit files that aren't supported. That would be a waste of money if you ask me.
          storm14k
        • ...

          Save the pain? More like inflict more pain of a different sort... ]:)
          Linux User 147560
        • Save all the pain?

          I think we would inflict more pain on ourselves by getting Windows . DRM ,being treated like a criminal, reactivation etc.etc
          I refer to Microsoft now with a prefix beginning with F and ending with k, sometimes followed by ing.
          Microsoft will be forced onto my cold ,stiff body (apologies to Charlton Heston).
          elderlybloke
        • Installing systems

          Thanks for this series of articles as they help me build good systems. Pity Synaptic cannot get the pgp key, as it can add the repository in its GUI.

          Having installed Windows on old and new hardware to achieve the same results, one has to go through a lot more processes and costs than those involved in installing Ubuntu, especially to get a similar applications experience, so I presume this comment is for a machine already set up with lots of software by a system builder.

          This is why I perform all these activities when installing Ubuntu for friends and clients.

          Actually Windows system builders tend to use the same hardware so that they only have to perform the long winded install once, and then clone that drive for all the others.

          Ubuntu is a lot easier to clone as the hardware abstraction layer discovers the hardware on each boot, so putting a cloned drive into completely different hardware is relatively easy.
          The source machine needs to be setup with all the codecs, extra software, and importantly put into a generic state.

          This involves editing fstab drive labels to point to the real devices identified in /proc, changing the video driver to vesa so it can be set to the actual one in the target, and making sure removable media is available for user access.

          The latest updates are installed on the source before cloning.
          I use the proprietary Acronis True Image because its easier for the non techies I teach to do the job.

          Since cloning only takes about 15 minutes and testing and setup only another 20, this is a lot quicker than a new install from either a CD or a network.

          For all those hundreds of people I have upgraded from Windows to Ubuntu, they all say that they are pleased not to have the pain of spending their earnings on yet another Windows upgrade with its accompanying extra hardware and software costs, and no longer have the pain of malware, crashes in the middle of work, defragging and a slow Internet experience.

          Ubuntu plus articles like this mean that people who are fed up with their Microsoft experiences, and are willing to try anything to get something that works without constant costly and time consuming visits to a technician, get services that they are used to having plus all the other useful things a Ubuntu desktop provides for nothing but an Internet connection fee.
          stomfi9
        • Enjoy the ERM

          And be happy that big brother Microsoft and his little sisters the RIAA and the MPAA have determined what you can and cannot do with you computer.
          b.bob
          • Just not my day. I meant DRM.

            Oops again.
            b.bob
    • One of the reasons I do *not* prefer PCLinuxOS and Mint...

      ...is that they haven't the same degree of reliability, stability and quality control that the big five distro's have. Plus their developers community is much smaller and therefore their continuity is more vulnerable.

      Their legal status is more vulnerable as well, precisely because they pay less attention to legal matters involving restricted codecs. That may end badly, when they attract enough outside attention.

      That's why it's good to have an easy way of supplementing a big distro with the necessary multimedia support.

      However, I like Linux in general, not only Ubuntu. And I wish the best for every distro around, because we're all part of the same open source community. Learning from each other.

      Greeting, Pjotr.
      pjotr123
      • RE: One of the reasons I do *not* prefer PCLinuxOS and Mint...

        The neat thing is that your home directory never gets lost. Your distro goes under, just install whatever the current flavor is and decline to format your home directory. All of your stuff is pretty much right there on your new distro.
        richdave