Watching encrypted DVDs on Ubuntu

As most of you who have used Ubuntu will know, you cannot watch DVDs on systems (even outside the US) without installing the ubuntu-restricted-extras (or their kubuntu or xubuntu siblings) that installs some restricted packages that are illegal in some countries. What is new as of recently, AFAIK, is that you have to download and install libdvdcss2 manually afterwards in addition to installing the above packages. Installing livdvdread4 in Synaptics won’t actually enable you to watch DVDs, so here’s how to get it done nice and easy:

  1. Open Synaptic Package Manager and install the ubuntu-restricted-extras packages 
  2. Close Synaptic and open up a terminal 
  3. Run ‘sudo apt-get install libdvdread4’ 
  4. Then ‘ sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/’ 

And reboot! Now, while I understand you need to use caution with regards to these packages because you don’t want it to appear as if Canonical is somehow encouraging breaking the law (in a few countries, including the US); I just don’t understand that you have to hide them as well. The install info is available here: Installing libdvdcss, but you’d have to read the package description pretty carefully in Synaptics to even notice it.. If I remember correctly, on earlier versions you could just install the restricted packages and you were ready to go. This little difference almost ruined Lady C’s vacation!

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