Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Installing Some Extras for Ubuntu 9.10

OK - so here is the deal. I have been increasingly interested in Linux and using it for various projects. I started with Ubuntu 8.04 and ran it for a while - then I tried Fedora, Debian, and SUSE. Now I am back to Ubuntu but with the 9.10 version. I have to admit that the more I use it, the more I am liking it. Now, really - I am a Linux noob so all that I have done with it so far has been through hours of research on forums, blogs, and other various documentation. There always seemed to be something that blocked my progress from fully accepting a Linux distro of any kind.

From all of the searching, I never came across one spot that really laid it all out to have a working system the way an average Joe might want to have one. That means playing DVDs, viewing flash video online, and interacting with java applets.

I recall when I first installed Ubuntu 9.10 - It was sharp! I like the look of the login screen. I also recall wishing I could have the login screen background as my desktop wallpaper but that is not really a big deal. I started to try out all the goodies, of course, and came across some issues that needed to be resolved.

  1. Flash player

    • I used the Firefox browser (which I use on the PC anyway so was not unfamiliar with it) and quickly realized that there is no flash player installed. OK - no biggie, right? Well, that is what I thought. I went out to download flash for linux from Adobe's website and found the file no problem. Downloaded no problem. There it was on my desktop. I tried a few things to install it to no avail including some hunting online for solutions. Eventually, I found an answer that worked. That is a bit hard to swallow when flash basically downloads and installs pretty much on its own or with a double click on the install file in Windows.

  2. Java Runtime Environment

    • Same deal. If you are gonna browse - you need to have JRE installed to help maximize the experience just as you would with flash. Again, did some forum foraging for answers. It was about this time that I discovered the Synaptic package manager. That is pretty neat. However, do a search for flash or java and you will get a lot of returns. AAHHHH! Which one is the right one to choose?? Back to searching the forums. (Don't get me wrong, this has been a great learning experience.) Finally something that works.

  3. Play a DVD Movie

    • Alright, time to toss in that new copy of Star Trek you picked up at Wal-Mart last week. (You saw that, right? It was very good) No dice. No URI error pops up. Yeah, I get it - can't play movies on a PC either without the right codecs. Back to the forums. The frustrating part was that Ubuntu comes with the Movie Player. When my PC comes with a movie player like InterVideo, it has the codecs too. I eventually gathered enough things from various sources to get the DVD to play.

Well, all that being said, I wanted to combine all my efforts into one post that helps with each of these things as I am guessing that this is a common issue but it can be frustrating to try to find all the bits and pieces scattered across the web.

Getting it all to work in Ubuntu 9.10

First of all, this assumes a fresh installation of Ubuntu 9.10 without any other modifications that would possibly render one of these steps useless.

Second, I am going to give you all command line information. I personally found that to be just simpler than the package manager.

Third, if you are not wired and are having trouble with your wireless connection, you may want to try checking to see if the drivers are available on the machine but not installed.

  • Go to System > Administration > Hardware Drivers

  • Check to see if you have a wireless driver in the list (I have had some laptops just work and others that needed this step)

  • I had a driver called Broadcom b43legacy wireless driver

  • Select and install that driver

Now for the real meat and potatoes of this post...

  1. Download Ubuntu 9.10 and burn your ISO file to disk. Boot your computer with the disk in. Make sure your BIOS settings will allow you to boot from your optical drive. I am not going to walk you through installation of Ubuntu with this post though.

  2. When installation is complete and you are at the desktop - Go to your Terminal by selecting Applications > Accessories > Terminal

    • As a side note, I use Terminal so much that I added it to the panel. (right-click on Terminal and choose Add this launcher to panel)

  3. Now you will have to be a superuser in order to do all these installs so you will be prompted for your password several times in this process. You should be able to use the one you provided during the Ubuntu install process.

  4. Here are all the installs I did to get the DVD playing. **Disclaimer - the DVD might play with less than this but from what I learned all these options allow for better performance so I installed all of them. I also know that it may not work on your system at all - this is what worked for me so I can only hope it will work for someone else as well. OH - and make sure it isn't just a CD drive. They won't play DVDs. :) I also recommend running these in the same order as listed. Accept any prompts.

    • sudo apt-get install libdvdread4

    • sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

    • sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly

    • sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse

    • sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad

    • sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse

    • sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

    • sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-pitfdll

  5. Get Flash Player installed (no you won't have to pay anything for it)

    • sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

  6. Get Java Runtime Environment installed

    • sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre

    • sudo apt-get install sun-java6-plugin

    • sudo apt-get install sun-java6-fonts

So that pretty much wraps up the majority of the setup for me. I know that you each will have needs that are different but this seems like it would be a pretty universal set of applications to have installed. Hopefully it was helpful to you in some way.

Thanks to the many, many folks more knowledgeable than I am for the plethora of posts that helped me get them all together.

1 comment:

  1. I recommend you Google: SUPEROS Super Ubuntu

    It is exactly what you're looking for, out of the box.

    Or just click on my name and check out our super tweaked out desktops.... which have even more.