Making Ubuntu-Kubuntu Linux Work

I'm a relative newbie with Linux, having spent all my time progressing from MSDOS through Windows 1, 2, 3.1, ME, XP etc.

I've now seen the light and ditched all Microsoft products, and with them the need for all sorts of third party software to keep my PC safe.

I've tried all sorts of different flavours of Linux and keep coming back to Ubuntu-Kubuntu - it's just so easy to set up, once you get the hang of it!

That's not to say other distributions are any less than Ubuntu-Kubuntu - it's just my personal preference - I'd still recommend switching to Linux, just try several and see which you prefer.

OK, intro over, just how do you make Ubuntu-Kubuntu work with just about anything you throw at it?

First off 64-bit or 32-bit? In the early days it wasn't possible to use 16-bit add-ons (Flash, Realplayer etc) in a 64-bit environment. OK, some techies may contradict me there, yes you COULD use a 32-bit version of Firefox on a 64-bit operating system, but that's probably beyond most people (like me for instance!)

It's no longer true (for whatever reason - I won't pretend to understand). If you have an AMD64-chipped PC then you might go for the AMD64-specific version of Ubuntu-Kubuntu, if you have an Intel chip you might go for the generic 64-bit version.

A word of warning though. Whenever I've installed a 64-bit system it hasn't worked. Even now, with the latest version from Canonical, it STILL fails to locate and set up my printer! For this reason alone I've stuck with the 32-bit version

You must remember that most Linux distributions stick closely to the Free and Open Source Software code of practise - exactly that all software should be FREE and OPEN SOURCE - not just free to use (like Flash, Realplayer, Java etc).

That means the 'out of the box' installation of Linux may very well be lacking the ability to use Flash or Java in web pages, it won't play many (especially Windows) media files, it won't play DVDs, and you may well wonder just why you've installed this crippled OS!

Don't worry, it's really easy to put the usability back into Linux - and make it play DVDs. Because let's face it, why shouldn't we play OUR DVDs on our PCs? Well, here goes….

Go into the Adept Manager (K Menu - System - Adept Manager) and go to the Repositories - look in the menu system under the first item listed.

OR - open up a terminal and type 'sudo aptitude install libdvdread3'

This will download and install everything you need to get DVDs playing. Next go to the bit lower down this page highlighted in bold text

On older versions you will now see the main settings as lines of text.

Greyed out lines are remmed out - right click them and select Enable to un-rem them all except Backports.

Now wherever you see Universe add the word Multiverse (after a space - so it reads 'Universe Multiverse')

Then look at the bottom for a button to confirm the changes you've made - can't remember what it's called but it's obvious what it does - honest!

Now go back to the Adept main window and refresh - a whole lot more packages magically become available!

Newer versions (Feisty and Gutsy) won't show the settings as lines of text, but instead will show a control panel with option selections. Make sure you select everything - except Backports or Source Code or Unstable Upgrades - definitely select Third Party Software! That's really useful.

Again a whole lot more packages should become available.

Now install the following.

Gstreamer ffmpeg
Gstreamer base
Gstreamer ugly
Gstreamer ugly multiverse
Libxine main
Libxine extracodecs

Linux will now play MOST media files.

For DVD playback, install the following


Update: continue here
Now fire up a file manager and go to /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3

Open a terminal, become root (type sudo -s), change to the folder where LIBDVD was installed (type cd /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3), then run the shell script to install DVD codecs (type './')

Update: or open a terminal, become root (type 'sudo -i')

(To open a Terminal look on the right side bar of Dolphin - make it visible if it's not already)

then type ./

DVDs will now play

The next bit is an aid memoire specific to me! Please ignore!

Go to /home/bobwoolsey/.kde/share/apps/kaffeine/

(replacing 'bobwoolsey' with the appropriate user name)

and put the file file 'channels.dvb' from Yahoo Folders in place of the one there now – this is an up-to-date channel list for the DVB TV tuner.

OK, back to general instructions!

Install the following with Adept Manager.

Mplayer (look for the listed mozilla-mplayer which also installs Mplayer itself)
Flash (look for the listed flashplugin-nonfree from Adobe)
Java (look for the listed j2re1.4)
Gimp (plus printer, and raw file codecs if your camera saves raw .nef files like mine)

RealPlayer seems to work OK out of the box. If it doesn't go to and get the RealPlayer10Gold.bin file. Make sure you get the approprite Linux version, not the Windows version!
Save it somewhere, right click it, look at its properties, and make it executable.

Open a terminal in the folder where you stored the bin file, become root (sudo -s), then type ./RealPlayer10Gold.bin to install Realplayer.

powermanga (a 2D zap-em space game)
wormux (a game involving silly little creatures which blow each other up)
blobwars (a game where little round creatures have to find their way round a maze)
supertux-stable (a game - make sure you get the stable version, the other one is painfully slow)


Using a file manager, go to /usr/lib and open a terminal. Become root (sudo -s)
type the following as root

mkdir codec
mkdir codecs
mkdir win32

Kaffeine looks for codecs in one of these folders - create them all and it's bound to find them! :-)

Having created these folder close the terminal and go find the zipped file
essential-20071007.tar.bz2 - I have it stored somewhere, but you can copy and paste the file name and Google it.

They can be found here:

Unzip and copy ALL the contents to the folders created above – you'll need to become root to do this (open a terminal in the folder containing them and type sudo -s then type cp * /usr/lib/codec then type cp * /usr/lib/codecs then cp * /usr/lib/win32).

Kaffeine SHOULD now be able to play just about anything you throw at it.

And look for the package 'Kubuntu' - that's the pre-packaged Kubuntu system - as Canonical would like you to use.

I also install kde - the whole bag-o-mashins, including kdm - also gives the kde-entertainment package of games! And kdm - the actual desktop.

It's also now possible to install kde version 4 - go to the Kubuntu site to find out how. Basically stick another line in the repositories list file then install kde4-core from Adept Manager.

It installs alongside kde version 3, it doesn't overwrite anything. Simply log out, then when logging back in select KDE 4 from the options menu! It's really pretty!

Update: Kubuntu now installs KDE4 as the default. If you don't like KDE4 (and I don't - sorry, but I just find it graphically over the top and less easy to customise than KDE3) don't install Kubuntu. Go for Ubuntu instead with it's Gnome desktop

If you've installed Ubuntu with Gnome, almost all the above still applies. I still prefer some KDE applications over their Gnome equivalents (ie Kaffeine in place of Totem, Digikam in place of F-Spot, Amarok in place of Rhythm Box)


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