Configuring media and DVD playback in Debian GNU/Linux 5.0


Bill Giannikos


This guide will assist in install playback functionality for DVDs and media files which are not supported as standard by Debian GNU/Linux 5.0. Due to legal issues Debian does not play these media types as standard. This guide will install support for MP3, x264 as well as other files plus DVD playback.


There are many legal issues associated with DVD playback and media files in regards to the patent on MPEG2 and the US DMCA law on decryption of the DVD which is why Debian does not include this function. It is my understanding that it is totally fine and legal if you install the DVD playback functionality yourself, however I am not a lawyer so you may like to verify for yourself if following this guide is legal in your jurisdiction.


You should run a full update for your installation of Debian to ensure you have all the latest packages installed.

You will need a working internet connection.

Configuring DVD and media playback

For this we are going to make use of the repository. Here are the required steps.

1. Load up a terminal window if you are in the graphic interface.

2. Switch to the root user by entering the command “su -” (without the quotes) and typing in your root password.

3. Execute the following four commands to add the repository to your system:

dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb
echo "deb lenny main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update

4. Now install the required packages with the following command:

apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-lame libdvdcss2

5. You can now start “Movie Player” from the Applications menu and load the file you wish to play or select your DVD drive for DVD playback.


Suresh Menon, 2009/04/19 17:47

Thank you very much.

Suresh Menon

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configuring_media_and_dvd_playback_in_debian_gnu_linux_5.0.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/02 14:27 by billg
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