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If you’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 13.04, you may have noticed that its file manager, Nautilus, has lost some of its functionality. One of the glaring omissions in the 3.6x versions (the current is 3.6.3) is the Open With sub-menu when right-clicking a selected folder. Previously, you could use it to open a folder with a program, like Movie Player (now called Videos, though technically it’s totem) to open a folder full of video clips, or a folder full of pictures with Image Viewer (or eogEye Of Gnome – to be precise).

In this guide I’ll show you how to do both, but you can of course apply this to any program you want, as long as it has the ability to open a folder starting with the first file. In the case of Image Viewer, it will open the first file within the folder and continue to cycle through the rest as you use your arrow keys; in the case of Videos, it will open the media player with all videos from the selected folder in its playlist, in alphanumerical order.

To get around the missing Open With option, you will first need to install Nautilus Actions. To do so, run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions

Once installed, you can use the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool to define your own actions (in Unity’s Dash menu, just start typing the name; in Gnome Classic, it will be in Applications > System Tools).

New Menu Item for Image Viewer:

In the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool, click the Define a new action button and name that action to what you want to appear in the menu (eg: Open with Image Viewer; whatever name you choose will also appear in the Context label: field in the first tab in the right-pane, Action).

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Image Viewer to Context Menu

Making sure that the new action is selected in the left-pane, in the right-pane go to the second tab – Command – where you define what that menu option will do. For the Path: enter eog (or the full path /usr/bin/eog), for Parameters: enter %b (for first basename), and finally for Working directory: enter %d (for first base directory). While there are a bunch of other tabs in the tool, that is all you should need to do.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Image Viewer to Context Menu Step 2

If you want to add an icon for that menu option, you will see Icon: in the Action tab, where you can browse for an icon to use.

Nautilus-Actions Icon Chooser

Once you’re finished, click the Save button, and exit the tool. You will find your new action in the Nautilus-Actions actions sub-menu in your context menus.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Image Viewer to Context Menu (DONE!)

(OPTIONAL: If you also want this action to appear in context menus for locations – in other words, not just the selected folder, but when you right-click an empty area of the folder you’re currently in – check the box next to Display item in location context menu in the Action tab)

New Menu Item for Movie Player (Videos):

In the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool, click the Define a new action button and name that action to what you want to appear in the menu (eg: Open with Movie Player or Play Movies in Folder; whatever name you choose will also appear in the Context label: field in the first tab in the right-pane, Action).

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Movie Player/Videos to Context Menu

Making sure that the new action is selected in the left-pane, in the right-pane go to the second tab – Command – where you define what that menu option will do. For the Path: enter totem (or the full path /usr/bin/totem), for Parameters: enter %b (for first basename), and finally for Working directory: enter %d (for first base directory). While there are a bunch of other tabs in the tool, that is all you should need to do.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Movie Player/Videos to Context Menu Step 2

If you want to add an icon for that menu option, you will see Icon: in the Action tab, where you can browse for an icon to use.

Nautilus-Actions Icon Chooser

Once you’re finished, click the Save button, and exit the tool. You will find your new action in the Nautilus-Actions actions sub-menu in your context menus.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Movie Player/Videos to Context Menu (DONE!)

(OPTIONAL: If you also want this action to appear in context menus for locations – in other words, not just the selected folder, but when you right-click an empty area of the folder you’re currently in – check the box next to Display item in location context menu in the Action tab).

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If you’ve been getting blue faces when watching YouTube clips, or any other Adobe Flash videos, the cause can be hard to pinpoint. When faces and flames, and other red/orange elements, turn varying shades of blue, it can be due to a buggy Flash update (especially for 64-bit users), or it can be due to video card driver issues (currently it seems to be affects a few Nvidia users after upgrading to Ubuntu 12.04 – read more at the bottom). Whatever the cause, this issue usually drives people to uninstall Flash, then reinstall an earlier version.

But hopefully the following fix will correct the colours in the movies you watch in Firefox or Chrome (and any other web browsers) without having to resort to such drastic measures. All you need to do is create a text file and paste a line of text into it, but since saving it will fail unless you create the folder first, do so by running the following in the terminal:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/

Now to create the file and open it for editing:

gksu gedit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg

When it opens, paste in the following:

EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1

Close the file, and confirm you want to save the changes. Now, all you need to do is restart your browser and your clips should look fine. If not, you may need to reboot, and hopefully all is fine when you return.

The EASY WAY: Now that you understand what’s needed, you could cheat and just do the whole process with one command:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/ && echo -e "EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1" | sudo tee /etc/adobe/mms.cfg > /dev/null

If you also want to force the Flash player to bypass its GPU validity checks (GPU validation – see below), then the command would be:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/ && echo -e "OverrideGPUValidation=1\nEnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1" | sudo tee /etc/adobe/mms.cfg > /dev/null

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That Didn’t Work, or Caused Problems? In some cases, you might find you need to disable GPU validation in addition to, or instead of, telling Flash to use vdpau hardware acceleration. If you’re experiencing trouble at some sites but not others (like YouTube videos are now fine, but at Vimeo the Flash plugin crashes), you may want to play around with the settings. For example, to enable the acceleration but bypass GPU validation, the text in mms.cfg would be:

OverrideGPUValidation=1
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1

… or the following to just bypass GPU validation:

OverrideGPUValidation=1
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=0

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To Revert Back: If these tweaks have caused you more headache than it was worth, just delete the entire folder you created with:

sudo rm -r /etc/adobe

Or you can just edit the file with:

gksu gedit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg

… and set EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode= to 0 if you prefer to keep it.

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Nvidia users: Apparently the issue (which Adobe reportedly won’t be fixing) is caused by having hardware acceleration enabled, so right-clicking a Flash video, choosing Settings… and disabling “Enable hardware acceleration” can often fix this. However, the above fix is perhaps more elegant since you’re allowing Flash to use vdpau hardware acceleration, rather than just disabling it altogether.

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If you’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10, you may have noticed your movie files not looking as they should in the default Movie Player (Totem), and probably others like SMPlayer and MPlayer. For me, the clips actually looked fine first off, but only in Totem, as SMPlayer kept crashing. Then, after getting some updates, Totem started displaying the colours all mixed up (as did SMPlayer, which wasn’t crashing any more). I tested GNOME MPlayer, and that was fine, but all my other players were affected.

From the looks of comments I’ve seen around, updating/installing Medibuntu is a likely suspect, but whatever the cause, it should actually be quite easy to fix. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Display in Totem, and adjust the Hue from the default 50% mark all the way up to 100%. If yours is all the way down at 0%, as some have reported, then you definitely need to do the same. You may need to do this with each player, but in my case changing the setting in Totem immediately rectified the problem in SMPlayer. If it doesn’t for you, however, then you know how to fix this easily.

Lastly, don’t be surprised if later on you go to play a vid and your colours are all mucked up again. This time, you’ll probably find the Hue is still at 100%, so you’ll need to drop it back to the default of 50%. It might be a bit of a hassle, but this should be fixed up at the development end soon enough, and at least it only takes a few seconds to get your movies looking as they should.

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There are many great disc burning apps for Ubuntu, but (just like in Windows) you may find not every one does everything you need. In Windows, you may have found a lack of support for burning ISO images (in Ubuntu, you just right-click and choose “Burn to disc“), but in Ubuntu and its siblings the feature nearly every one of them is missing is the ability to burn a VIDEO_TS folder to a playable disc.

With some, there just is no option for a proper movie DVD, and don’t be too surprised if those that do give you one playable on your computer, but not in the DVD player in the lounge. That’s where K3b comes in.

When you click the More actions… button, choose “New Video DVD Project” from the menu that appears.

You can then just drag and drop the VIDEO_TS folder into the blank project (or browse via the pane above).

You can then double-click the label (“K3b data project“) and enter your own disc label (the old name will be selected so just type away).

When you’re ready to proceed with the burning, insert a blank DVD and click the Burn button. When the dialogue appears, you may want to uncheck the default option of “Verify written data” before proceeding, as when the disc is burned the process will only be 50% through, since it will then scan the disc to verify the data. You may also want to check that “Simulate” is not enabled too, as that will force it to do a test-run before actually burning. Note that any changes you make will become the default, so you won’t have to manually do so again.

You can also choose how many copies you want, lower the burning speed if you’re spitting out coasters, and “Only create image” to “burn” the movie project to an ISO image for burning later. Once you’re ready to burn your DVD, click the Burn button.

You can view the progress via the “Writing Video DVD” dialogue, or just look to the progress bar at the top of your screen.

That’s it! Your movie disc will be watchable in any DVD player.

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Click here for all K3b tips

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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32-bit Ubuntu users: You can read this for some general info, but for installation of Flash use this guide instead.

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While Flash support on Linux distros used to be a nightmare, most people these days rarely need to bother fiddling with it. In fact, installing Flash support on 32-bit i386 systems it can be even easier than doing the same in Windows. But 64-bit users often find it is one big mess, and this has nothing to do with Ubuntu, as Adobe has only ever released a 32-bit version, as incredible as that may seem.

At the time of writing, there is the first alpha 64-bit version available, so things are looking up. While you could be forgiven for not trusting a product that isn’t even at its first beta level yet, from what I have seen it is stable, and should be the answer you are looking for. While this might not be the solution to help everyone, hopefully it is the answer to your Flash woes.

What you first need to do is go into Synaptic and completely remove the package flashplugin-installer, or do so with the following command in a terminal (if you never installed it, obviously you can skip this step):

sudo apt-get purge flashplugin-installer

If you suspect you may have installed some open source Flash plugins, open Synaptic and enter “flash” in the Quick search bar. I personally removed the popular gnash just to be safe (since it and the Adobe one always fought for supremacy, though that was never the problem, considering I installed Gnash after the Adobe product failed me). You can leave swfdec-gnome if that is installed, as that handles things like giving thumbnail previews for .swf files in Nautilus, etc, and doesn’t appear to cause any conflicts.

You can always try just skipping all that and seeing if the 32- and 64-bit versions happily co-exist, but since the 32-bit one is failing you anyway, you may as well uninstall it and save any potential headaches.

Next, we need to add the Adobe Flash repository to the APT sources, update the sources list, then download and install the 64-bit plugin. This is easily done by pasting the following into a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer

Note that if you get an error, most likely because during the sources update it failed to fetch some info, this install will fail (since it won’t actually get to the last command and download and install anything). However, if you open Synaptic and search for “flash“, you will see there is now flashplugin64-installer included in the list of found packages, and is then easily installed (though you could always just run sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer in a terminal).

If you prefer, you can run each of the three commands separately:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer

That way if the update fails, you can run it again and then run the last command when ready.

After that, you should have Flash support in Firefox and other web browsers, and you shouldn’t even need to reboot (though if you didn’t already exit Firefox before installing Flash, restart the program now, and you should be able to watch Flash vids).

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If you want to make sure the plugin is installed properly (without viewing a Flash clip, which is obviously the best way to get this info), just enter about:plugins in the Firefox address bar and hit Enter. You should see the Flash section right near the top.

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If you are trying to load a movie DVD into Kaffeine or MPlayer, or any other multimedia or video player, and you get the error:

Cannot find input plugin for MRL [dvd:/]

… then creating a symlink via the terminal might be the quick and easy answer to your woes. Basically, you need to link your disc drive’s address to the device /dev/dvd, then all should be good.

Just take note of your drive’s actual mount point, or visible address, which should be something like /media/cdrom0 (and don’t worry if it has the word “cdrom” in it, as it just means any optical disc drive, including DVD burners). Then simply enter the following into a terminal (replacing the drive’s address, if need be), and your DVDs should now open fine:

sudo ln -s /media/cdrom0 /dev/dvd

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Command won’t work? Then your mount point doesn’t match the one listed in the command (/media/cdrom0 is quite common, but by no means universal). All you have to do is change it to the correct address; if you don’t know what your mount point is, then read this.

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Note that you may need to repeat this after rebooting, so you can just hit the on your keyboard to save you retyping it in the terminal, or just make an alias for it. If it’s a common bug, it should get fixed soon enough, but at least it isn’t that much of a major deal getting Kaffeine working again in regards to DVD playback.

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By far the best method of getting your package manager Synaptic to be able to find lots more useful software is to add the Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions In Ubuntu) repository. By adding it, you in fact get access to a whole lot more repos, and you could end up finding packages in a Synaptic search that you couldn’t even find via Google when hoping to download them from the developers’ sites.

Besides finally being able to install those programs you’ve seen recommended but could never locate, Medibuntu makes it painless to get a whole bunch of “non-free” packages (proprietary, copyrighted, or other legal issues). This can range from popular software you usually need to download (and often register for first), like Skype and Google Earth, to even more multimedia codecs that you didn’t get with ubuntu-restricted-extras.

Codec packs and multimedia extras to install once Medibuntu has been added are libdvdcss2 (for playing encrypted retail DVDs), non-free-codecs, and “Win32” codec binaries (required for the decompression of video formats that have no open-source alternative) w32codecs (for 32-bit “i386” systems; for 64-bit systems, install w64codecs, and PowerPC Mac users install ppc-codecs).

For those who just want libdvdcss2, you can download the 32-bit, 64-bit and PowerPC versions (37Kb .DEB installers).

Go to the Medibuntu documentation page for more info, or just enter the following command in a terminal, and it’s all done for you! You can then open Synaptic and see all the extra software available to you, and install those invaluable codecs. Note that all of the below is one command, so copy and paste the lot:

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list \
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update

If this doesn’t work, you could be reading this when it’s outdated, so go to the site and check the command is still the same.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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