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Enabling (K)Ubuntu Multimedia and Other Extras

Ubuntu and Kubuntu do not come with multimedia support pre-installed. Out of the box, (K)Ubuntu does not play mp3, mpeg, and flash files. New users of these Linux distributions are often perplexed as to how to enable the use of these extra features. There are two easy ways to get the multimedia (and other) features.

This first to switch to a Linux distribution that IS pre-installed with these extras. The second:
Ubuntu has created its own easy way of installing those components. It's available in both Gutsy Gibbon (7.10), and Hardy Heron (8.04).

The first option is to switch to a distribution, based on Ubuntu, called Linux Mint. Linux Mint uses the Ubuntu software repositories and is compatible in every way with Ubuntu.

The second option is to install the "[k]ubuntu-restricted-extras" package from within (K)Ubuntu. According to the Ubuntu documentation, "Installing this package will pull in support for MP3 playback and decoding, support for various other audio formats... fonts, Java... Flash... LAME... and DVD playback." And don't be intimidated by the term "restricted." Ubuntu's licensing page describes the purpose of the restricted component as drivers, etc. that are not available in an open source form. Instead, their availability is restricted to a binary "non-free" format.


Installing the "restriced-extras" package
Ubuntu provides the Synaptic Package Manager and Kubuntu provides the Adept Package Manager for installing new software packages. Synaptic is available from the System, Administration menu. Adept is available from Kubuntu's System selection in the K-Menu.
  1. After launching Adept or Synaptic, enable the Universe and Multiverse repositories. (How to: Ubuntu, Kubuntu)
  2. Now you will be able to search for the package "ubuntu-restricted-extras".
  3. Right-click the package that you want to install and choose Mark for Installation. (Request Install for Kubuntu.)
  4. Click the Apply or Apply Changes icon in the toolbar and your installation begins.
Enjoy your multmedia capabilities.

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