There are a number of reasons why some great programs never make it into mainstream Linux distributions. Software patents, restrictions on freedom of speech or issues about the use of cryptography are just some of the reasons. Rather than be bowed by such nonsense, the folk at Ubuntu have produced Medibuntu -- a repository of packages that can't be included in Ubuntu distributions for various reasons.
Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions in Ubuntu) is subdivided into free and non-free repositories -- the latter containing programs with licenses that restrict the way they can be distributed (such as GoogleEarth and Skype). Adding access from your current Ubuntu version requires cutting and pasting a whole two lines of code (detailed here ), then adding a GPG key. After that the "missing" packages will be available in whatever package manager you use. You can browse the list here.
It's a commendable effort. As the folks at Medibuntu say:
We refuse to resign ourselves to abandoning software that may be legally useful somewhere, and we have chosen to provide it with professional quality packaging, easily usable within the context of Ubuntu.
And that's great news for Ubuntu users. But they also caution:
It is your legal responsibility to make sure that the software you are installing can be legally used in your country and for your intended purpose.
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