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Adventures with open source apps on Linux - Part 2

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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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

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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