How-To: Get Full Multimedia Support and Playback Capabilities in Ubuntu Desktop Linux

ubuntu totem dvd gangster number 1

The purpose of this how-to is to give Ubuntu desktop users (especially new ones coming from the Windows world) the guidance to enable full multimedia support and playback of popular media codecs and technologies in just 3 simple steps. Once completed, your Linux PC will have DVD (CSS) movie playback support, OGG / THEORA / AAC / MP3 / WMA / WMV/ DIVX / XVID / MPEG-1/2/4 / QuickTime support, Skype, Flash, RealPlayer, JAVA, and more.

UPDATE: All you need do now is search for “Ubuntu Restricted Extras” in Ubuntu Software Center, click Install then type the following below for DVD movie playback into your Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

EDGY 6.10 Tips: Use the provided sources.list for Edgy and skip on installing F-Stop because it’s now included in 6.10 – Related Discussion

Note: These instructions are based on Ubuntu’s latest release, 6.06 (Dapper), which integrates the Gnome Desktop Environment; however, the instructions provided should work with later releases. Now, get ready to put both Totem, Gnome’s default media player, and the Firefox Web browser on steroids! Multimedia Support the EASY WAY * All the commands that you will need to copy and paste into the Terminal (Tip: use CTRL+SHIFT+V to paste) will be shown in dark red. To launch the Terminal, go to menu APPLICATIONS > ACCESSORIES > TERMINAL.

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list This command tells the text editor, gedit, to open the sources.list file as root using sudo (aka the Administrator, Super User). Replace the contents with the following and SAVE – IMPORTANT: This list links to U.S. repositories from Ubuntu for Intel/AMD x86 systems, but the URLs can be changed to work with other countries by using your 2-letter country code (reference the original URLs). Dapper Sources List:

## Ubuntu ‘Main’ Repository deb dapper main restricted deb-src dapper main restricted ## Ubuntu ‘Universe’ Repository deb dapper universe multiverse deb-src dapper universe multiverse ## Ubuntu ‘Backports’ Repository deb dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse deb-src dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse ## Ubuntu Bug Fix Updates deb dapper-updates main restricted deb-src dapper-updates main restricted ## Ubuntu Security Updates deb dapper-security main restricted deb-src dapper-security main restricted deb dapper-security universe multiverse deb-src dapper-security universe multiverse ## Canonical ‘Commercial’ Repository deb dapper-commercial main ## Skype – VoIP Client deb stable non-free

Edgy Sources List:

## Ubuntu ‘Main’ Repository deb edgy main restricted deb-src edgy main restricted ## Ubuntu ‘Universe’ Repository deb edgy universe multiverse deb-src edgy universe multiverse ## Ubuntu ‘Backports’ Repository deb edgy-backports main restricted universe multiverse deb-src edgy-backports main restricted universe multiverse ## Ubuntu Bug Fix Updates deb edgy-updates main restricted deb-src edgy-updates main restricted ## Ubuntu Security Updates deb edgy-security main restricted deb-src edgy-security main restricted deb edgy-security universe multiverse deb-src edgy-security universe multiverse ## Canonical ‘Commercial’ Repository deb edgy-commercial main ## Skype – VoIP Client deb stable non-free

sudo apt-get update This command updates your PC’s list of currently available packages.

sudo apt-get install totem-xine totem-xine-firefox-plugin libxine-extracodecs flashplugin-nonfree msttcorefonts sun-java5-plugin skype banshee streamtuner xmms realplay f-spot This installs, what I call, the “multimedia power packages” – IMPORTANT: When prompted with a [Y/N] question in the Terminal window while running the command, ALWAYS select Y for yes. For DVD & Quicktime support (among other popular codecs), you’ll need to install the w32codecs and libdvdcss2 packages. WARNING: these package may be considered illegal for use in some countries. cd Desktop wget -c…11-0.0_i386.deb sudo dpkg -i w32codecs_20060611-0.0_i386.deb wget -c….9-0.0_i386.deb sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.9-0.0_i386.deb Tip: Once installed via dpkg you can delete the packages from your desktop. DONE! Now you have a Linux PC that can play just about every media file a Windows or Mac PC can (sans DRM-wrapped files) and you also get the following A-list programs FREE:

  • Banshee – The premier CD Ripper/Music Player/Track Editor with iPod Support on Gnome.
  • F-Spot – The premier Photo Manager/Editor/Flickr Uploader on Gnome.
  • RealPlayer Gold 10 – The defacto media player alternative to Windows Media Player.
  • Skype – The world’s most popular VoIP client.
  • Streamtuner – A lightweight browsable Internet Radio directory for SHOUTcast, Live365, etc.


Extras Firefox – Share audio with Flash and other applications sudo gedit /etc/firefox/firefoxrc Change FIREFOX_DSP=”none” to FIREFOX_DSP=”aoss” and save. Better CPU performance for Pentium x86 chips sudo apt-get install linux-686 Better CPU performance for HyperThreading and multi-core x86 chips sudo apt-get install linux-686-smp NVIDIA driver Install sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx sudo nvidia-glx-config enable —– Other Ubuntu posts of interest: Digg – Comments on this story Ubuntu Wiki – RestrictedFormats eHomeUpgrade – What’s Hot on the Linux Front? Xgl + Compiz eHomeUpgrade – How-To: Dual-Boot Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper) Linux Desktop Along Side Windows XP

Filed in: Software

  • martin

    I’m new to Ubuntu and I’d like to play my DVD’s, but I did not understand a thing of this tutorial, is it me? Maybe if you wrote out the instructions in a 1 2 3 fashion, it would make sense?

  • david


    Try this one:

    I used it today to allow gxine to run on Ubuntu 8.10 and worked. Although I have to say I am not too impressed, I expected something a bit more mature.

  • Alexander Grundner

    Here’s the guide directly from Ubuntu’s Community Docs:

    * Follow the instructions for Ubuntu 7.10, 8.04, and 8.10 (SUPER EASY)

    FYI, MPlayer does a good job of letting you navigate the DVD menu system. Totem (the default player) bypasses the menu and plays the feature movie directly.

    Also, the above instructions may not be “legal” in the US, but you can remedy that with purchasing the codecs and software from Fluendo and Cyberlink here: