Ubuntu 8.04 rant: Getting MP3s to play is too fundamental to be left up to geekery

I thought the deal with Ubuntu — at least in the 8.04+ era anyway — was that if you tried to play a not-totally-free form of multimedia, the system would open up a window asking you whether or not you wished to download a proprietary codec or some other form of nastiness to facility the playing of such verboten media.

And I even remember one time downloading a Quicktime movie on a Ubuntu box and having just this sort of dialog pop up, soon after which I was happily playing the video.

But today I decided to bring some podcasts into Ubuntu’s Rhythmbox music player.

Yes, they were MP3s. If I had known that a friendly Ubuntu dialog box wouldn’t pop up, and I’d have known beforehand that I had to dip into Add/Remove programs and add the “restricted extras,” I would’ve done that.

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