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I'm deployed to Afghanistan with the Army and I have a friend who's netbook had his hard drive take a dump on him. He ordered a new hard drive and I was able to download and burn a copy of Ubuntu to disk from work. However the default install doesn't support most of the media that he wants to watch (AVI files, probably some DIVX video) without installing extra packages.

We don't have internet in the tent and really don't have a vaiable option for downloading additional packages through the package manager anywhere here.

The computer is a small HP netbook. All my friend wants is to watch ripped movies.

Does anyone know of a good way to do either of the following:

  1. Download packages seperately and install them via CD
  2. A distro that is going to come preloaded with all of the packages and needed to watch just about any type of video file you can think of?

Thanks in advance, Andy

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Are there no times when you have Internet? I know a few people tether their phones for data – Simon Sheehan Mar 30 '12 at 11:38
@Simon Sheehan, my particular patch of Afghanistan is pretty much a data black hole outside of the government networks. So unfortunately their is no data on the cell phones. In fact, I don't even have a cell phone. – MrWizard54 Mar 30 '12 at 16:53
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you can download another distro then Linux Mint DVD comes with codecs to play most media files.

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Distro worked like a charm. I had not heard of it before. Thanks for the info. – MrWizard54 Apr 6 '12 at 17:12

You can download the pre-compiled .deb packages separately and install them without an internet connection.

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What, no links to what they need? – Moab Mar 30 '12 at 16:24

Since many video codecs are not open source, you will not find them in any linux distros, (imho using linux on an mostly offline computer is always a bit awkward) therefore I recommend to download precompiled .deb packages for everything you need when you have web access and install them from a portable storage.

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Well, its a little tricky but i see two options that would work on ubuntu

  1. Set up an ubuntu install as needed (with medibuntu, and required packages), test and convert it to an installer with remastersys. This will create an installer with your new packages
  2. use keryx to keep things up to date - start with a default install, get packages with keryx, and send him the package it generates. I believe this can be done from windows portably as well so you can use a internet connected system you can run portable software on to keep things up to date
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  • Download GeeBox. GeeXboX ISOs are ready-to-burn disc images containing the bootable GeeXboX Operating System for multimedia entertainment. So you don't need to touch the existing installation
  • or If you Install Debian - 8 DVDs
  • or you can create your own Ubuntu Repository to install from there and share with friends. Update it only when have internet
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Also, you could use the RTU package for Ubuntu, which allows to install a lot of usefull things like codecs even if offline :

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Actually, thats pretty cool, but I'd note that you may want to disclose your affliation with the project a little more clearly. More details on the packages installed would be nice too! – Journeyman Geek Jun 18 '12 at 23:34

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