I’m now on my fifth day of using Ubuntu on my office machine. Slowly, I’m starting to get accustomed to working with it, but there are still a variety of things that I still need to do from time to time.

For those that haven’t read my previous posts on this topic, I’ve switched from Windows Vista to Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (8.10) on my Dell Studio 17 laptop that I use at the office. Even though Ubuntu has a great ability to “just work,” often times it is difficult and unintuitive to get certain things to work. So, I decided to blog about all those difficulties so that I can have this information to rely on later and so others can benefit from my experience.

I couldn’t get Java to function with Firefox. The main problem here is that Sun hasn’t released an official plugin with support for the 64-bit platform. I found some workarounds that were not tasteful at all, such as: removing my current Firefox and replacing it with a 32-bit version, manually creating a bunch of complex wrappers to interface my 64-bit Firefox with the 32-bit Java plugin, and solutions that get even worse from here. I decided to ditch Java and hope for finding a solution sometime later. Keep reading though, because I did find a solution.

In order for me to play “restricted format” multimedia content, I had to enable new repositories and install additional software. Fortunately, there is a very handy guide to adding support for restricted formats for Ubuntu.

Must to my surprise, installing the “ubuntu-restricted-extras” package as recommended in the guide, automatically added Java support for me. I wish that they made this more clear, since I could have ended my search for Java support much earlier. This support is thanks to the IcedTea project which seeks to make a Java interpreter that doesn’t require any non-free code. My thanks go out to the IcedTea team for making adding Java support to my 64-bit Ubuntu system so easy.

Interesting function that I just discovered: Nautilus, the default file browser for Ubuntu, has tabs now. Press Ctrl+T, and a new tab will open. I have yet to find a good use for this as dragging between two seperate windows works well. Even if I don’t find a long-term value in this feature, I do find it very interesting.

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