Desktop Guide suggests Gxine for a default video player

Phil Bull philbull at
Sat May 5 07:59:10 UTC 2007

Hi Ari,

On Sat, 2007-05-05 at 06:27 +0300, Ari Torhamo wrote:
> Now you are confusing me - in your previous message you were ready to
> give easy codec installation a section of it's own: 
> "I agree with mentioning easy codec installation somewhere. I'd rather
> insert a new section to handle it, though. Maybe something like 'I can't
> play a video or audio file'."
> You move so fast I can't keep up ;-)

Sorry, perhaps I'm not making myself very clear. I think that easy codec
installation should be mentioned, but I wouldn't really devote more than
a line to it. I was just talking about which section to put it in. My
thoughts were to put the line about easy codec installation right at the
top of a new 'I can't play a video or audio file' section, as a single
bullet point, something like:

" * If you try to play a video which Ubuntu cannot play, it will attempt
to install support for it automatically. You will be asked to confirm
that you want to install support for the video, and it should play
immediately once installation is complete."

> We should remember that large part of the people reading the
> documentation are (permanent) novices. Few of the people who I have
> installed Ubuntu for know what a codec or restricted software is. When
> ordinary users are asked if they want such things installed, they often
> don't know what to answer. They may try to think what some computer savy
> person would say. From their point of view that might as well be "yes
> ofcourse, that's just one of those routine guestions", as "Not on earth
> NO! Haven't you heard about viruses and spyware. You should never accept
> installing anything if you don't know exactly what it is." Many people
> will click cancel, try again in the hope that the intimidating guestion
> would go away. Then they may have a look at the documentation. Their it
> would be good to have a few words about what's going on and that it's OK
> to choose "yes", and perhaps link to further information.

You've hit upon an interesting problem, that people might not know what
a codec is. Perhaps a small 'glossary of computer terms' might be an
appropriate new inclusion this release cycle?

I have to disagree with the use case you propose above, however. In my
experience, people don't read documentation when they get a 'scary'
message, they just forget about it.

> The easy codec installation does explain something about the process
> itself, but what's told is not enough and is partly confusing (codecs,
> restricted formats, etc.) Perhaps the best thing would be to make the
> whole process so trasparent that users would hardly notice it.

Exactly, easy codec installation should be seamless - the user should
barely notice that it's there. It's probably best to change the
terminology used in the user interface if it's confusing, e.g.:

Restricted formats => Types of multimedia with legal issues
Codecs => Support for particular types of multimedia

Thanks again,


Phil Bull

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