I realize it has been ages since I first wrote on this topic so I figured I’d revisit it again. If you’ve ever found yourself unable to playback a DVD on your Ubuntu system, this post will outline the reason and the fix.
At first you might wonder why this bug hasn’t been fixed. If, as I say, I wrote about this long ago why hasn’t it been fixed? The problem is not in the code, but in the software patents involved. For the same reason mp3 support is not enabled out-of-the-box, neither is DVD playback.
I should give the obligatory disclaimer about checking your local law and all that jazz.. but I wont. Just know that you can blame the DCMA and ridiculous US patent law for this restriction. If you are outside the US you are likely fine.. lucky bastards.
As I mentioned above, Ubuntu can’t include the code for DVD playback by default, but it is very simple to add after-the-fact. It takes all of one command to get it working (and will generally require a reboot), but afterwards you’re set. I’ll outline two methods you can use to enable DVD playback on your Ubuntu system.
The first method toward enabling DVD playback on Ubuntu 8.04 is to simply run an included script that will automagically fetch, configure and install the appropriate code for you. This can be done by issuing the command below:
The second method (both are not required) toward enabling DVD playback on Ubuntu 8.04 is to install it in its packaged form, which is available from Medibuntu. The following three commands will add the Medibuntu repository, install the security key and then add DVD playback support.
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
Either of these methods will likely require a reboot. From here on out DVD playback should work just fine on your machine.
You may be interested in the No Software Patents website, which is an advocacy group with the goal of removing or at least improving the ridiculous, out of control software patent system. Remember, this doesn’t only affect the US. It could happen in your country too!