Multimedia components and proprietary programs

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Orlando Florin Rosu,

Orlando Florin Rosu,

That's Entertainment

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You can watch movies, play music and place calls over the Internet with ease with Ubuntu. You just have to load the right software packages onto your computer. We present some of our favorite multimedia apps.

Playing movies and music, ripping DVDs, and making Skype calls – that's all possible with Ubuntu. Although the Ubuntu installer already provides basic "third-party" multimedia codecs, these options might not fulfill everyone's wishes. At least, the distribution loads the legitimate MP3 codec from Fluendo onto the computer through the ubuntu-restricted-addons package, along with components for the GStreamer framework (plugins-ugly , plugins-bad , ffmpeg ) and a Flash plugin installer from Adobe.

As a result, you can play MP3 files, burn audio CDs, and view more than 90 movie formats right after installation. However, the installed package is not compliant with the ubuntu-restricted-extras package that you should install after the installation. It provides additional codecs for GStreamer, some typical Microsoft fonts (that you need to sign an EULA for first) and the UnRAR unpacker. You'll also need to install the LAME library so that you can create and play MP3 files from audio CDs.


Generally, numerous programs in Ubuntu play music and movies, but there are some standard apps. Rhythmbox (Figure 1) is the preinstalled app for playing music. You can use the software to convert CDs to MP3 format, although RipperX [1] is much better suited for this. Totem, on the other hand, is the default video player. This very simple player uses the GStreamer format. The drop-down menu used to access the videos and podcasts from YouTube and the BBC in the past is missing in the current version (Figure 2). Many users, however, also install VLC, the multimedia player that plays everything, provides more features than Totem, and can be extended easily through modules. You can find these modules using the command-line apt tool if you search with;


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