Install Flash and Multimedia Support on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”

By | 2009/10/31

Ubuntu’s latest release is here, version 9.10 “Karmic Koala”, and with it a batch of new users. It seems like each new release brings a pool of new adopters, and with it a pool of new questions. With this post I thought I would outline the simple process of adding all of the “extra” goodies to your installation.

Ubuntu Restricted Extras

Ubuntu has simplified the method for installing codecs and other plugins by capturing the most popular within a single meta-package. This package, ubuntu-restricted-extras, provides a list of packages that will complete most of your multimedia requirements. From the package description:

Installing this package will pull in support for MP3 playback and decoding, support for various other audio formats (GStreamer plugins), Microsoft fonts, Java runtime environment, Flash plugin, LAME (to create compressed audio files), and DVD playback.

To install this package, enter the following command in the Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) or simply click on the link below:

sudo aptitude install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Additional Codecs

If you want more codecs and additional support for encrypted DVD playback you’ll need to go one step further. You’ll need to take advantage of the Medibuntu repository, which is a fully functional, community maintained repository specializing in Multimedia, Entertainment and Distractions in Ubuntu.

Adding Medibuntu

The following few commands will simplify the process of adding the Medibuntu repository and importing its signing key:

cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
sudo wget$(lsb_release -cs).list
sudo apt-get -q update
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring
sudo apt-get -q update

Installing Medibuntu Packages

After this is finished you’ll be able to install additional packages. The most popular packages from Medibuntu are the w32codecs (w64codecs for 64bit installations) and libdvdcss2 for encrypted DVD playback support. To install these simply use the commands below in your terminal, or click the link.

DVD Playback

sudo aptitude install libdvdcss2

Windows Media Codecs – 32bit

sudo aptitude install w32codecs

Windows Media Codecs – 64bit

sudo aptitude install w64codecs

I hope these packages are able to provide the multimedia functionality that you’re looking for. You might also want to check out the VLC package for additional media playback support. Enjoy!

29 thoughts on “Install Flash and Multimedia Support on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”

  1. agtu

    It's near 2010. why am i still using a command line in my OS?

  2. Christer Edwards Post author

    The command line is and always will be the more powerful tool. Consider the fact that MS included Powershell in Vista and 7 should give you an indication that it isn't going away.

  3. Guest

    It's near 2010 and there are stil people complaining about using the command line… 😉

  4. Mikko Rantalainen

    It's near 2010. Why are you still writing your messages? Wouldn't point and click communication be a better way?

    Command line is used because it's more powerful and it's more powerful because using words to describe actions or commands is a more effective way than point and click. Or put another way, little children point at things, adults usually use more powerful methods.

  5. fasteez

    you forgot to mention that the lsb package isnt ""installed"" by default on ubuntu 9.10 live

  6. fasteez

    forget that, i was wrong -__-

  7. chuckles

    show me an OS that is worth considering that doesn't have the command line… and cuz ur likely a mac head, OSX isn't an answer.

  8. csDood

    OS X has a command line…. its based on BSD unix duhhhh

  9. gandhii

    agtu probably still uses Mac OS 9. I can’t think of any other OS that doesn’t have a command line or terminal/shell.

  10. Joe

    Does the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package work for the amd64 structure?

  11. Dean

    so you like CLI's – it doesnt mean you have to force them on everyone. I guess the original poster was saying – why do I have to resort to terminal just to see Flash. Until issues like this are resolved Linux will not be taken up by the majority. Still, probably keeps the geeks happy. Oh and by the way im a geek…doesnt mean we have to make it hard for people new to Linux.

  12. Guest

    Just to make this clear. You *can* do all this with a GUI, using Synaptic, but the command line is much faster for most tasks once you get used to it

  13. DavidO

    Thanks for the instructions and I agree with agtu and Dean. Linux will never be widely adopted by the general public until stuff like this is brain dead simple.

  14. Guest

    I agree with DavidO. OSX and Windows will never be picked up by the general public until they get rid of their command lines too. I can also give you a plethora of things in Windows that aren't brain dead simple (adding printers, etc.), so it has a very long way to go before it gets accepted by the public.

  15. matt

    Total newb here. I click the link to install and it says it can’t find the packages. I downloaded them (I think) but have zero clue where to put them to be able to access/install them from the terminal. I’m sure this is really obvious to the experts, but I think it’s pretty funny that the original post, which is generally helpful, forgets that some people don’t know how to acquire and properly locate these “packages” to make them accessible to the OS.


    Any light you can shed will be warmly received.


  16. Christer Edwards Post author

    @DavidO Are my instructions *not* brain-dead simple? copy and paste a couple of commands and you’re done. I’m sure the instructions for other platforms would be more complicated!

  17. Christer Edwards Post author

    @matt If you clicked the links you should have been prompted with an interactive installer. Are you sure the packages aren’t installed? Generally, with the type of links I include in my posts, you are simply prompted with an install verification prompt, and then you’re done.

  18. Richard

    Richard Stallman notwithstanding, Ubuntu’s decision to not include these in the distro was very short sighted. The internet, PCs, phones, televisions, audio platforms, are all merging and changing monthly. For any Linux distro to NOT facilitate, with great ease, the transition from Winsucks xx.xx, is a strategic error of the disastrous kind. I just spent 2 bloody hours, last night, trying to find out why Ubuntu 9.10 couldn’t play my paid-for DVDs, but Linux Mint would. I recently gave up, finally, on Win XP due to the fact that even my stable for 9 mos. XP(3) was freezing up on me, despite that I run a clean, lean, well tended platform. Two weeks of battles led me to killing WinXP for good, and keeping Ubuntu 9.10 & Linux Mint in a dual boot OS situation. Over a period of 10 years I had tried Linux off and on. Lack of ease of use and support for graphics cards always forced me to put off the full switch over. When I found that Ubuntu 9.10 worked for all of my hardware, the first Linux to do so, I was excited. But for many reasons I’ve had to take it out and put it back in while updating hardware (failed drive and outdate video card). I thought I had it all settled. Just two days ago I spent 6 hours trying to get my Nvidia GTS 250 card’s drivers installed, only to find, last night, that I could not watch my DVDs–yet Mint would run them just fine.

    These types of dumb battles are the type that the general public do not have time for and don’t care for and will NEVER want to deal with. Little wonder Linux is still fighting the desktop war with Microsuck. Look at all of the Linux distros! It’s a community of 1,000 cats going their own way.

    Once I knew that there were Linux drivers for newer cards–that work well–I decided that I was going to switch to Linux come hell or high water. Winsucks is gone for good, for me. Yet, it’s been a battle to get here. Again, the general public don’t want, nor can they, deal with this type of experience.

    To Christer: you’ve got a first class site here, and your articles containing command line instructions (wow, even links for updating repos) is amazingly helpful.

    Superb work here–hope to see it around for years to come.

    Many thanks!


  19. DK

    …well. my XP64 works just fine… but my Ubuntu Karmic Koala not! And it totally freeze with sites/flash/java related problems. I guess it is stupid to say that I am a music composer, and spent the last 48h trying to have this Koala, singing…. Considering that I am almost a normal person, there are big chances that may make me want to forget this Ubuntu “thing”. Am a looser? or just someone that uses computers for work?

    Try to go to the site and see if any widget works!… if so, tell me how… if you just have the time. Thank You

  20. Scott

    Everything worked perfectly!! Thanks for the tutorial. Forget the haters.

  21. PA

    This comments show why linux will never be mainstream!

  22. Rafael

    From Brasil, thanks a lot, man ;D

  23. rayz

    you can do it with Synapic Package manager if you want a gui.
    Cli is easy imo

  24. kubuntudolphin's

    thank’s…. i’m newbie in ubuntu……

  25. Guest

    I don’t care command line is powerful , i want to it be wonderful and ease of use, let there be two method who need just to use it use point and click and for power user or developer also have the option to use command line not everyone is able to do computing ok, i don’t see any illiterate user able to say i want power all we want is to be able to use it easily and safely. Make that happen linux. Thank you.

  26. Oshy Saeed

    thanks alot for ur efforts 🙂

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