[wellylug] Multimedia Nightmares

Jeff Hunt jeffhunt90 at gmail.com
Fri Sep 11 17:00:22 NZST 2009

Help. The multimedia aspects of Linux are driving me mad.

I have supplied a lot of computers to families that now use Ubuntu
regularly and like it. Especially over the last 6 months or so there
are a lot of people out there that have heard of, and are prepared to
try a free alternative.

The problem is the kids typically aged between 10 and 14 who actually
expect their computer to do something when they want multimedia. They
want to play dvds, play embedded video and play sound and video that
is sent to them on emails.

Certainly Linux does all these things and over the years I've got most
of these formats running but always running blind and just typing in
instructions got off sites like funnestra, medibuntu, the Ubuntu
multimedia pages (but never it seems from those messages that come up
saying I am trying to run an unsupported file type and all I have to
do is click here to download the codec - I click here, wait an hour on
my dial-up and am no further along at the end of it) etc.

So the question is - how do I find out what minimum set of codecs I
need, where I get them from, which will conflict with others and  how
to find any obscure commands I need to issue. In other words how do I
just get video and sound to work, both streamed and stored?

I know there can be long debates on legalities and  VLC, xine and
gstreamer, but the public just want one recommendation and set of
instructions that will do the work. They can experiment later. For
instance I still don't know whether I need a vast quantity of w32
codecs to run a home computer doing ordinary things.

The sad reality is that although I am not the brightest star in the
universe, most people know much less about this than I do, and if I
can't get it sorted after 5 or so years then Linux is going to
deservedly remain a poor relation to OSes that work out of the box.
(You know who I mean).

In case I sound too negative, I am rapped at how Ubuntu installs,
networks, runs pictures and documents, upgrades, installs new
software, resists viruses etc. This is all brilliant. Now we need
proper help files and intelligent guidance with restricted file

Any takers?

More information about the wellylug mailing list