Multimedia components and proprietary programs

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The New Java

To use Java applications, you need a Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Ubuntu does not provide Oracle's proprietary Java version anymore, only the free OpenJDK. Because some Java programs had problems in the past with OpenJDK, many users often resorted to the proprietary Java (sun-java), but that's missing now because Oracle put it under a nonfree license. Because the proprietary Java is compatible with OpenJDK 7, the official Java reference, most Java programs should make due with the free Java. You can install the software from the openjdk-7-jdk and icedtea-7-plugin packages, and the older version from openjdk-6-jdk and icedtea-6-plugin via the following command:

$ sudo update-alternatives --config java

This step activates one of the parallel installed Java versions.

If an app refuses to run, submit a bug report via the Ubuntu wiki [7].

Seek and Ye Shall Find

You can install many proprietary apps and multimedia codecs from the existing repositories. Numerous proprietary Windows programs also run in the Wine Windows-compatible environment [8]. Other than that, take a look in the Ubuntu package manager, because almost any application has a free alternative.


A few exotic file formats from the Windows world and some proprietary programs are available only in external repositories. If a movie won't run, usually integrating a Medibuntu repository [5] will help. Apart from libdvdcss2 , the repository provides MPlayer, Mencoder, fonts for Adobe's Acroread PDF reader, and additional multimedia codecs that are in the non-free-codecs .

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