Access to the proprietary world

Who doesn’t like the idea of open source, of sharing, and that every one who is able to can change software to his/her likings and share the changes with the rest of the free software world? Unfortunately, it takes a big deal of self-restraint to only use completely liberated software. Who can resist the attraction of shiny animations on websites (Flash), or those of playing music on your iPod (which does not support any of the free formats that are superior in so many ways)?

Unfortunately, due to a lot of legal restrictions, Xubuntu is unable to add support for these restricted formats to a default installation. Luckily, since Xubuntu Feisty (7.04) it is easier than ever to enable, using Applications->System->Add/Remove.... With just a few clicks, you can install the package “Ubuntu Restricted Extras”. So, I open up Add/Remove… and search for “Restricted Extras”…

Searching for "Restricted Extras" - where is it?

Not found?! Oh, wait…

To broaden your search, choose ‘Show all Open Source applications’ or ‘Show all available’ applications.

So, in the top right-hand corner, I select “All available applications” and, what a surprise, there it is!

Searching for "Restricted Extras" - there it is!

Cliking the checkbox in front of “Ubuntu restricted extras” I get the following pop-up:

This should be "Enable additional repositories?"

Hmm… If you are a person (as in: not a company) then it should be legal for you to install these packages. I am a person, so I click “Install”.
However, the purpose of this window isn’t entirely clear. Indeed, the button said “Install”, but it actually meant “Enable”, as in “enable extra repositories” (i.e. locations to download software from). So, if you were thinking the package would now be installed: you’re wrong. In fact, the checkbox in front of “Ubuntu restricted extras” is still unchecked. Check it now, then click OK. You will be asked if you are sure, click “Apply”. The packages will then finally be installed.

There you have it! You can now play your music and watch YouTube (and yes, you can use Gnash for that, but more likely than not situations will occur where you need a version of Flash later than seven). You can use Java (which will be open sourced and thus can be included in future releases of Xubuntu) and websites will now be displayed in the fonts their authors wanted them to be displayed in! Enjoy!

Note: the next version of Xubuntu, Gutsy Gibbon, will introduce Xubuntu Restricted Extras, which will install packages more appropriate for Xubuntu.

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12 Responses to “Access to the proprietary world”


  1. 1 Papa 10 September 2007 at 3:33 pm

    restricted = NOT free ( free in the context of free beer and NOT in the context of free South Africa )

    Papa

  2. 2 Vincent 11 September 2007 at 7:50 am

    Well, actually it is free in the context of free beer and not in the context of free South Africa.

  3. 3 Papa 11 September 2007 at 8:54 am

    It is not free in the context of free beer because you can be prosecuted for modifying or distributing the software and can get a fine from the American court of justice.

    Buck Fush !!

  4. 4 Vincent 11 September 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Well, yeah… So you are not free to edit it (free as in freedom) but you do not have to pay to use it (free as in free beer).

  5. 6 Hugo Heden 24 September 2007 at 10:55 pm

    The thing with the Install button is confusing, you’re right. If you have time, please file a bug on that.

  6. 7 Vincent 25 September 2007 at 7:54 am

    Your wish is my command :)

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/gnome-app-install/+bug/144680

    Yes I should’ve done this of my own accord. I just thought it would’ve been reported already… ;)

    (Btw, I vaguely remember something that the report would have to have /+source/ in the URL somewhere… I just clicked “Report a bug” though.)

  7. 8 Adam C. Sieracki 5 February 2009 at 4:16 am

    If the codec ‘owners’ threaten to sue, hit them with an extortion charge. Lawsuits wither away REAL quick, when criminal charges happen…

  8. 9 bikeopaulie 8 May 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Within Xubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) the Add/Remove menu is found under “Applications->Add/Remove”.

    Thanks for finding a solution to the common problem of Flash not being installed by default!


  1. 1 This is Gutsy « Xubuntu Blog Trackback on 14 October 2007 at 10:35 am
  2. 2 TuxFeed › This is Gutsy Trackback on 14 October 2007 at 1:21 pm
  3. 3 TuxFeed » This is Gutsy Trackback on 14 February 2008 at 9:13 pm

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