How to install codecs into Ubuntu when you don’t have the internet

There are times in life when we meet challenges. At that point we have choices to make.  Like, do I continue or do I give up? Of course if we do give up then we could very well miss out. It may seem to be that the problem we are trying to overcome is impossible, but really is it?

When I was writing this post, I started to think of a song and it goes like this- “Well if at first you don’t succeed…dust yourself off and TRY AGAIN”.  If you don’t get it have no fear for you will in a little bit. So bear with me. 

As I mentioned before, I  have a version of Linux on almost all of my computers. I just like it like that. On one computer, I installed Ubuntu 10.10 from a USB stick, and that worked out wonderfully. Yet when I tried to play most media files, I was unsuccessful. Why? Well, because of the fact that Ubuntu does not by default come with codecs to play mp4’s, flv etc. This is for very good reason

As a result, I was unable to play the desired files, and although I could play open-source formats like .ogv or .ogg. I would have to convert other files to those formats and that could be really time consuming.

Since I am not one to give up easily. I decided to searched on-line for answers, and found out that I could install the codecs off-line and I thought that was great. So I downloaded the package and when I went home, I tried to install what I needed and failed to get it right. I tried over and over again to no avail. So I just pretty much left it alone, until today.

Earlier today, I decided to try it again. This time, I really paid attention to the instructions. Much to my surprise, I was successful. So finally, it happened to me, right in front of my face and I just cannot hide it!

 When you see the instructions you are probably going to laugh for they really are that simple. They are right below.

First you want to install the Ubuntu Codecs Pack and in this case while it mentions 10.10 it would really apply to any version of Ubuntu.

 1. Ubuntu Codecs Pack for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick



1. double-click the file “”

2. select “run in terminal”

3. typing y [enter]

 if the above steps fail, drag-and-drop files “”

to the terminal and add the command “bash”


 $ bash /home/you/extras/


The installation by the way was very quick and I decided to test it out with an Aaliyah song and if you are curious it was “ Are you that somebody”.

What can we learn from this experience? Well, the importance of following instructions to the letter is one. Something else that I am so glad I had in this instance was perseverance, I was determined to get it to work and made it happen. True, this was a relatively minor issue, this time but the lessons learned were priceless.

6 thoughts on “How to install codecs into Ubuntu when you don’t have the internet

  1. mattmaier

    LOL, I think your story also highlights the importance of providing good documentation for open tools. I can’t even begin to list the number of times I HAVE followed someone’s instructions to the letter and they still don’t work:-)


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