How to install popular proprietary software in Ubuntu

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Ubuntu is committed to Free software (free in cost and free in licensing restrictions), but in "the real world," most computer users are used to having proprietary or nonfree codecs and support software installed (to use Java, MP3s, Microsoft fonts, etc.), so Ubuntu has included an easy way to install these nonfree items. The free in the word nonfree refers to licensing restrictions, not to cost.

During installation of Ubuntu, you may have already enabled these nonfree codecs, in which case you do not need to follow these instructions to get them installed.

If you're using Unity, you can find Ubuntu Software Center on the left side of your screen.

If you're using classic Gnome, go to Applications and select Ubuntu Software Center

Do a filter search for the word restricted and then click Install next to Ubuntu restricted extras.

You may get asked to confirm a few things as you go. That's okay. After all is done, you should be able to play Flash, MP3, etc.

When prompted for your password, enter it.

Wait for the restricted extras to install.

Confirm again.

Then you're all set.

You can find more details here (without all the screenshots).

There are also variations on Ubuntu that include proprietary/nonfree software in the default installation. One popular variation is called Linux Mint.

Last updated 04/29/12 04:14

If you have suggestions or corrections for these tutorials, please post in this Ubuntu Forums thread or leave a comment on my blog.

I will not give help to people posting in the above places. If you require technical support, start a support thread on the Ubuntu Forums. That is the appropriate place to ask for help.