Ubuntu 10.10 – Plug-ins, Codecs and all that Jazz… (Part One)

Ubuntu is open source, which on a basic level means pretty much free and unrestricted.  You can read about it here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/project/open-source

Anyway, this means that restricted third party software is not included by default.

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Installing Plug-ins, Codecs, etc.

Most of these are pretty straightforward to install once you have the basic settings in place.  These are all settings for the main methods of installing software in Ubuntu which are Synaptic Package Manager, the Terminal, and Ubuntu Software Centre.

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Synaptic Package Manager

The first thing to do is to check Synaptic Package Manager and make sure your repositories are in good working order.

System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager

To access this Ubuntu will ask for your Administrator password.  It may take a few seconds to load.

Now go to

Settings > Repositories

which will open a window called Software Sources.


Make sure you have all the boxes ticked.  It is extremely important to have the fourth box, Software restricted by copyright or legal issues (multiverse), ticked.

We won’t be using the other tabs but just so you know.  As you add packages they will appear in the Other Software tab.  In the Updates tab you can configure the system, security and software updates for your Ubuntu system.

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The Terminal

Applications > Accessories > Terminal

The Terminal is the quickest way to do anything in Linux.  It is extremely fast and efficient.  On the downside, typing the wrong thing can create a lot of problems.  So some people feel safer avoiding it, which is fine as you can get by without using the Terminal at all.

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Ubuntu Software Centre

Applications > Ubuntu Software Centre

If you go to Applications and can’t find Ubuntu Software Centre don’t worry.  Sometimes it is not included on the menu by default.  Just right click on Applications in your panel and choose Edit MenusUbuntu Software Centre should be at the bottom of the main Applications list.  Tick the box to ensure it appears on your Applications menu.

If you are uncomfortable using the Synaptic Package Manager or the Terminal this is a good option.  Most basic software can be installed from here.

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Ubuntu Restricted Extras

The first useful thing to have is the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package.  This will install basic things like JAVA, Firefox plugins, Adobe Flash Player etc.  The recommended way to install is via the Terminal.  If you install it another way your installation may not be properly completed.  You can read about that here.

To install this package using the Terminal go to

Applications > Accessories > Terminal

Then copy and paste the command

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Enter your Administrator password when asked and wait for it to finish.  Now your basic media extras should be installed.

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Categories: Linux and Ubuntu, Ubuntu 10.10 - Maveric Meerkat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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