Multimedia and DVDs in Ubuntu

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This page in Spanish: Multimedia and DVDs in Ubuntu (Español)

Since downloading some of the following libraries may violate some Digital Millenium Copyright laws, this wiki page is for educational purposes only. Anyone who follows these directions for their computer does so at their own risk.

Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04)

In order to make Multimedia and DVDs work in Ubuntu, you need to add some additional software. This software is not installed by default because of licensing and legal issues.

  • Make sure you are connected to the internet
  • In System>Administration>Software sources, put a check next to the multiverse line
  • Enable the medibuntu sources by copying and pasting the following line into a terminal window. (Applications>Accessories>Terminal)
   sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

and then the following line:

   wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update
  • Install the following packages, either from synaptic or from the command line (below):
    • libdvdcss2
    • ubuntu-restricted-extras
    • vlc (optional)
   sudo apt-get install vlc libdvdcss2

This procedure adds a second media player (vlc) which will appear in Applications>Sound and Video as well as flash, java, quicktime and some other media helpers and plugins. The install will ask you to agree to the java license as well as clicking or entering ok on a couple of informational screens. The installation may appear to stall part way through. Be patient.


  • After changing the Software Sources, you need to reload the package list. This is done by the command line "sudo apt-get update" in the commands above, but if changing the sources is done last, you need to make sure the step gets done again.
  • Occasionally Adobe updates their version of flash without changing the name of the file. In this case the flashplugin-nonfree package will download the flash installer, but not install it. (Test by going to The installer can be found in /var/cache/flashplugin-nonfree, or follow the tar.gz method at this page.
  • Strange things can happen if you do not get the whole line
  • Occasionally rebooting is necessary before things actually work
  • Installing Java will not work if you do not agree to the license terms, so if java does not work you should try reinstalling and making sure of the license agreement. Test it by going to

Legal Issues

The legal status of libdvdcss2 is questionable, since it has never been brought to court, but some people believe it could be. Check out this link for a discussion, or the Wikipedia article on libdvdcss

Other links