Feisty's Codec Wizard

Totem, which has shipped by default with Ubuntu since the very first version, has always been the odd man out in an otherwise great distribution. Its utility has been severely limited, able to play only the OGG file format. It's great that it adheres to the free software-only philosophy, but it makes it all that much harder to win new converts.

(You'll recall that in previous posts, I've talked about installing and using Mplayer as a way to get around Totem's limitations.)

Finally, with Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn, we might finally have some use for Totem after all, thanks to Feisty's codec wizard.

How do you bring up the codec wizard? Well, you don't. It comes out automatically, and that's what's great about it.

I downloaded a large AVI movie (ahem! never mind where) and when it was all good and ready, I double-clicked the file. Totem came up, recognized that it didn't have the codec, and prompted me with:

Do I want to install a new codec? Absolutely!

Helpfully, Feisty shows me my options.

I can choose to install only one but I can also choose two or all three. Greedy fellow that I am, I ultimately choose all three.

Note that this is not much different from installing the codecs yourself manually. It's just nice touch not to have to wonder what exactly it is you have to install.

And before long, I was already viewing my new video.