Adding Flash, Java, and video codecs to Ubuntu Linux.

update, 5/09/2014**************this is an old blog — from the days of Ubuntu 10.04 …….. none of this applies for the current Ubuntu build. Maverick Flash plugin seems to not be available anymore, and java is being phased out. might still be able to get codecs for video play, but that’s about it. **************

while Ubuntu comes with its own version of java, a plugin called “iced tea” ….i have found that it doesn’t do the trick when running java applets like game programs on  iced tea might be all you need, if only use java interfaces such as photo upload and comment forms. you can find the ‘iced tea’ plugin on the regular Ubuntu Software Center. (applications>>>ubuntu software center>>>>*type ‘java’ into search*>>>>install)

but if play games or have any other interactive programming … will need the original java written by and produced by sun (oracle).

fortunately, one can use the synaptic package manager to install sun java.  go to system>>>>>administration>>>>synaptic package manager.  enter your password to launch the program.  go to settings>>>>repositories.  under ‘other software’ — make sure all the resources available are checked.  save and refresh programming as instructed.

then in the search, type “jre”

you will see a listing for sun java plugin (sun-java6-plugin).  right click and select ‘mark for install.’  at top of program window, click “apply.”  wait for package manager to install java.  (say ‘yes’ to install of other support-java programs)

can also go to sun java website, and follow installation instructions for linux.  but i could never get that to work.


once you have the extra repositories enabled, should see a Flash plugin available under the regular Ubuntu software center.

however … a better version of flash is available through the synaptic package manager.  again, go to system>>>>administration>>>>>synaptic package manager.

in search, type adobe flash.  select the plugin installer (maverick version), right click and mark for install … click apply at top of window and wait for it to install.

suppose should note that you will need to be connected to the internet for these installs.

Video Codecs

first, go to medibuntu …..

and under “Adding the repository” will see some commands to enter in the terminal.

highlight, right click and copy …….. then open a Terminal window:  applications>>>>>accessories>>>>>terminal.  paste the commands into the window, and hit “enter.”  should come up asking for your password.  enter password and then just let it do its thing.

when finished, close the terminal window.

now, when you click on your movie file for the first time, will ask if you want to search for the necessary plugins.  say yes and follow directions.  should install various gstreamer codec packages.  (again, you’ll need to be connected to the internet.)

have noticed lately, that there is also a new option under regular Ubuntu Software Center that enables certain repositories for specialized software.  but don’t know that they allow access to the necessary codecs.

once you get the codecs installed through Medibuntu — you will find you can play just about anything.

myself, prefer to install and use the Gnome movie player — has playlist setup that’s a little more similar to windows media player.  can find gnome player under regular Ubuntu Software Center:  applications>>>>ubuntu software center>>>>sound and video>>>>*type ‘gnome’ into search*>>>>install.


right click on desktop, select “Change Desktop Background.”

can choose from the variety of Ubuntu wallpapers, or browse for one of your own.  will also see a tab for “themes” — where you can change the style and color of your browser windows.

if you right click on any toolbar, and select “properties” …… will find a ‘background’ tab that allows you to change the color or even set an image to your toolbar.

can change the toolbar width, and position (top, bottom, left, right).

also, can right click on the toolbar and select:  “Add to Panel”

will see a list of useful apps, and just click on ones you would like to add to your toolbar (or panel).

can also right click on any panel and select “add panel” to create a new toolbar panel.  often a side one, where you drag and drop the links to various programs … can be handy.

to remove a panel, just right click and select “delete this panel.”

there are options to go online for additional desktop backgrounds and themes.  simply follow the instructions to install…they have quite a nice variety.

can access screensaver settings via:  system>>>>>preferences>>>>>screensaver.  also, from there you will find a link to power settings.  for adjusting the display and resolution values, go to:  system>>>>>preferences>>>>monitors.

in cases such as some ATI graphics, Ubuntu will prompt you to install the driver.  unless you need HD settings, recommend to NOT install and instead use common drivers from Ubuntu.  they get their wires crossed a bit, and catalyst control center is buggy enough even in windows 🙂


hope this helps ……… feel free to leave a comment with any questions or suggestions


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