I thought I'd take a bit of a break from the desktops (we'll come back to a new alternative desktop soon) and help the users out with getting both Ubuntu 10.04 and Fedora 13 working with some of the popular media types. This is a crucial chapter in a users life with Linux as we all know that multi-media is a bit part of using a computer. And now that the latest releases play well with just about every type of device you can imagine, it's important that they be able to play well with those devices media.
So in this article I am going to discus how to install the necessary codecs to get these media types running in both Fedora 13 and Ubuntu 10.04.
A necessary proclamation
Unfortunately Linux is hindered by licensing issues. This is why you will be hard-pressed to find a major distribution that ships with pre-rolled in MP3 support. It's frustrating, but it's a reality when dealing with licenses. Does that mean you have to go without listening to MP3's and other file formats? No. You can still enjoy them, you just have to install support for those tools yourself (or allow the system to install them).
This is especially true for Ubuntu 10.04. When you try to use a new media type in one of the players (such as Rhythmbox or Banshee), Ubuntu will attempt to install the necessary files, applications,. and/or codecs in order allow that media player to work with said multi-media file. This works most of the time. It's only during those occasions which it doesn't work that will have you frustrated because you can't use that multi-media. Fear not.
There is a very simple tool, called AutoX (by Dangermous - no relation to the famous cartoon character), that you can use to install nearly any codec for Fedora 12 and 13 in both 32 and 64 bit versions. You can install it with the commands:
rpm -Uvh http://dnmouse.org/autoten-4.7-2.fc13.noarch.rpm
After you install, you run this with the command autoten as the root user. If you do not have all of the necessary dependencies, it will install them at first run. Once running you click on the button for the codec you want and it will install (see Figure 1). Very simple.
With Ubuntu 10.04 you will have to issue a few commands to get your codecs installed. Before you run those commands you need to add repositories to apt. The command to add those repositories is:
sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list
Now issue the command:
sudo apt-get --quiet update
Finally the next two commands will finish up the job:
sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring
sudo apt-get --quiet update
You are ready to install the codecs. I will just list them out for you.
Non-free codecs: sudo apt-get install non-free-codecs
DVD support: sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder
Hopefully, after running the commands above, you should the codec you need installed OR now Ubuntu 10.04 should be able to auto-install any codec you need.
Thanks to licensing issues it's not a perfect world for Linux and multi-media, but it is getting close. With tools like you have above, getting your distribution up and running with multi-media isn't all that challenging.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.