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developers and hence is now included in the Ubuntu software repositories. The simplest way to install is to open Synaptic Package Manager, do a search for Java, and then select Sun Java6 JRE for installation. Other options will automatically be selected, including the binaries and plug-ins for Firefox, and you can just click Apply to install the software.
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The Totem movie player application (Applications Sound and Video back video under Ubuntu, as shown in Figure 17-3. Movie Player) is used to play
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Figure 17-3. Totem handles movie file playback under Ubuntu and is simple but effective. To play a movie file on your hard disk, simply double-click its icon. This will automatically start Totem and play the video, if Totem has the appropriate codecs, as shown in Figure 17-4. If not, Totem will suggest which codecs to download and install, as explained earlier in the chapter.
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Tip By default, all video files will play in Totem, including RealMedia. To change this so that RealPlayer handles its own file types, right-click any RealPlayer movie file, select Properties, click the Open With tab, and click Add. Locate RealPlayer in the list, click the Add button, and then make sure the radio button alongside RealPlayer is selected.
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Using Totem is easy, and the interface has only a handful of options. At the bottom left of the screen are the transport controls that enable you to pause, play, and move forward and backward in the video file. Alternatively, you can right-click the video window and select the controls from there. Above the controls is the Time bar. You can usually drag the slider to move through the video, but not all files support this function. You might find that some dragging is allowed, but you re not able to click a new place in the Time bar and have the counter jump to that position.
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Figure 17-4. Totem can play just about every kind of movie file, such as QuickTime, Windows Media Player, DivX, and Ogg (or .ogv) files, as shown here. At the right of the program window is a playlist. You can queue several video files to be played in sequence by simply dragging and dropping movies from a Nautilus file browser window. You can hide the playlist by clicking the Sidebar button. This gives nearly all of Totem s program window to the playback window. To play the video full screen, thereby hiding the desktop and Totem controls, press the F key. To return to the program window, press Esc (or press F again). In full-screen mode, you can start and stop the video by pressing the spacebar. To adjust the image quality, click Edit Preferences and then click the Display tab in the Preferences dialog box. You can make adjustments by clicking and dragging the Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Hue sliders. If a video is playing in the background, the changes are shown as you make them.
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Tip If you find you have problems with video playback, such as Totem showing an error message about another application using the video output, try the following: click System Preferences Terminal, and at the prompt, type gstreamer-properties. Click the Video tab, and in the Plugin drop-down list under Default Output, select Xwindows (No XV).
OPEN SOURCE MOVIE FILE FORMATS
A number of promising open source movie file formats are in development. Some are more mature than others, but few see widespread use at the moment. All promise much for the future. Many consider the following three formats the chief contenders: Xvid (www.xvid.org) is a reworking of the popular DivX MPEG-4 based file format. Unfortunately, Xvid uses technology covered by patents in some parts of the world, so the project exists in a legally gray area. Xvid is able to encode movies to relatively small file sizes (a 90-minute movie can fit on a CD). Despite small file sizes, this format maintains good image and sound quality. In theory, it should also be possible to play Xvid movies by using any MPEG-4 codec, such as DivX or QuickTime. Ogg Theora (www.theora.org) is being developed by the Xiph.org Foundation, the people behind the Ogg Vorbis audio codec project that s a favorite among Linux users. As such, it promises to be a completely open source project. Although the technology, again, is covered by patents, Xiph.org has promised never to enforce them, meaning that anyone in the world can use Theora without charge. HTML 5 is currently being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Like all its predecessors, from HTML 1.0 onwards, it is supposed to become the dominant web markup language. HTML 5 has explicit support for audio and video. Some parts are stable, others are not, but its video support is being developed vigorously and should be stable by the end of 2010.